What to do if you’ve been in a car accident

You’re driving in your car, obeying the rules of the road and traveling the speed limit, when all of a sudden you’re hit by another car. Car accidents are a fact of life. In 2016, there were over 4.6 million injuries and 40,200 fatalitiesdue to car accidents in the United States.

If you are involved in a car accident, you should take the following steps to protect the rights of yourself and others in your car:

Check for Injuries
Check yourself and others in your car immediately after the accident for injuries. If someone has been injured and needs medical attention, call 911. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible for any injuries suffered in the accident.

Call the Police
Even if the accident is minor, most insurance companies require that the police are notified about the accident. If you don’t call the police to report the accident, your insurance company could deny your claim for benefits to which you are entitled.

Obtain Eyewitness Information
If there are people in the area that witnessed the accident, try to obtain their names and phone numbers. An eyewitness’ recollection of the accident may be crucial if the other driver is at fault but later tries to blame you for the accident.

Exchange Information
Even though you may not be at fault in causing the accident, you must exchange insurance, registration and driver’s license information with the other driver. Your auto insurance company will also need this information to resolve any claims that develop from this accident.

Photograph Damage and Accident Location
If you have a camera available, and can do so without placing yourself at danger, take photographs of the damage to the vehicles involved, damage to any other property and the location of the accident.

Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible after the accident, contact your car insurance company about the accident. If you don’t notify your insurance company about the accident, they may deny a claim for benefits to which you are entitled from the accident, including medical, property damage and wage benefits.

Contact An Attorney
Once the accident has been reported to an insurance company, a representative from your own insurance company, or the other driver’s, may contact you. This representative may want to speak to you about the accident, take your recorded statement or ask you to sign certain documents. Before you give a statement to the insurance representative or sign any documents related to the accident, you should contact an attorney first. An attorney can advise you of your legal rights regarding the accident and how to protect those rights.

If you have been injured in a car accident and have any questions regarding your legal rights, contact the trial attorneys at Sheridan & Murray. We have the knowledge and experience to help you.