According to Arizona Department of Transportation there were over 127,000 car crashes in the state of Arizona in 2018 – 127,056 to be exact. That is an average of 348 crashes per day. Unfortunately, almost 30% of those crashes involved injuries. If you are involved in an automobile accident, you are probably wondering what you can do after a car accident. Well, there are certain things you can do to better protect yourself and your interests.
Here we gathered a top 10 list of things you should do if you are in a car accident.
- Stop – Do not drive away from the scene of an accident, even one that is minor.
- Remain Safe – Protect further accidents and your own personal safety by keeping your flashers on and try to pull over to the side of the road, if the vehicles interfere with traffic.
- Call the Police – Even if there are no serious injuries, it is always advised to call the police. There is a possibility you may need a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damage to your vehicle.
- Explain Your Side – When the police arrive, make sure you explain to the officers exactly what happened. It is important to recount the events to the best of your ability. If you aren’t sure of certain facts, say that. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, then say you are not sure instead of saying no. Keep in mind that often pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents present themselves after the actual collision.
- Take Photos – Most everyone has a camera phone these days. Use your cell phone to capture photos of the vehicles and any damage. If you have visible injuries, it would be wise to take photos of those too.
- Exchange Information – You should get the name, address, telephone number and insurance information for all persons involved in the accident. If police respond to the accident, they will typically collect this information, but if not – be sure you grab this information at the scene of the accident.
- Get Witness Information – If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future about the accident. Be sure to take down the police report number from the responding officer as well. Keep in mind, if the accident occurs on a state highway, you must request the report from state police.
- Seek Medical Attention – Often injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents are not immediately apparent. Most of our clients report feeling pain one or a few days after the accident occurs. Unless you are absolutely certain you were not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by seeing a trusted local physician.
- Keep A Paper Trail – Be sure to keep all of your accident-related documents on hand. We like to recommend our clients keep a file of all documents related to the accident together. Some items you would want to keep on hand would be your claim number, police reports, phone numbers of contacts, receipts for rental cars or other accident-related expenses and other pertinent information.
- Contact An Attorney – Perhaps most important after an accident is to contact and consult your attorney. Your attorney can protect your rights and advise you of valuable evidence and support along the way. It is very important to receive legal advice through this process. But be sure the legal advice you receive is from a licensed attorney – not an “intake specialist”.
Accidents can be a stressful and overwhelming time for everyone involved. We hope these 10 steps can help you along the way.