1. Contact the police and your insurance company.
2. Photograph both the vehicles and identifying information (insurance card and driver’s license) of the other parties.
There are also five things you should never do, that can potentially make it difficult to be fairly compensated for your losses.
What Not to Do
1. Don’t sign written statements.
Putting anything in writing after an accident is a bad idea – this applies both to your insurance company and the other driver’s. It is especially important to look over your policy carefully before determining how to proceed with your insurer.
2. Don’t admit fault.
Admitting fault means that you are accepting full liability for the auto accident. It is wiser to state what happened as clearly and reasonably as you can. Claims adjusters for the insurance company, police, and possibly attorneys will determine who is liable – the negligent party.
3. Don’t apologize.
Saying you are sorry or that you wish the car accident didn’t happen can be used against you as a statement of fault. You can see how easily your words can be twisted against you. Be very careful what you say, don’t get emotional, and don’t express opinions.
4. Don’t turn down EMS.
If you feel you may have an injury, no matter how minor, you must be medically examined and treated. It can take hours, days, or even weeks for some effects of accidents to be completely revealed. Seeking medical care upfront protects you in the long run.
5. Don’t accept insurance company settlements.
Keep in mind at all times that the insurance company is a for-profit business which offers settlements that are as low as possible – this behavior is not occasional but is standard practice. Estimate your losses yourself. Then begin negotiations. Always negotiate.
Too often when we are in accidents, due to the emotional stress and the interruption it creates in our lives, we make poor decisions. By acting too quickly, letting our emotions get carried away, or not having an eye for the full picture, we walk away without proper compensation. An accident attorney can be of great help, even from day one.
Our attorneys at Andriotis Law Firm can offer you free advice, help you avoid any missteps, and negotiate with the insurance companies to maximize your settlement.