Automobile accidents are an unfortunate part of life. Car crashes often leave passengers and drivers traumatized, emotionally distraught and confused, not to mention possibly injured. In such a situation, it is not easy to know how to deal with the incident. Here is a guide to such a situation that is published on the State Bar of Arizona website.
The most important thing is your health – If necessary, go to the emergency room or follow up with your regular doctor. You should bill all treatment through your regular health insurance, if you are covered. Some doctors will agree to provide treatment and wait to be paid from a settlement.
Pay close attention to the details of how the accident occurred – Try to find out who was responsible for causing the accident or injury. You should call the police and request that a report be made when you are involved in an accident that was someone else’s fault. If the police do not do so, you should obtain the contact information for everyone involved and their insurance companies as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses. If you are not hurt and are able to safely take pictures of the cars and the road with your cell phone, do so.
Talk to your insurance agent – After an accident, review your own insurance policy and talk to your insurance company or agent. You may be entitled to payments for medical bills (“med pay coverage”) and your own car insurance may apply if the other driver does not have insurance or if there is not enough insurance (“uninsured and underinsured motorists” coverage).
Always report the accident to the other person’s insurance company – Always be polite and cooperative when reporting the accident, but remember that you generally do not need to give a recorded statement nor should you talk about your injuries until you are released from your doctor’s care.
Document your injuries and expenses – Keep track of all expenses you incur, including bills and receipts, and be sure to document any time lost from work due to the accident. Take photographs of the vehicles, the accident scene, as well as your own injuries, if applicable.
What to do if you caused or may be responsible for the accident – Never leave the scene of an accident. You will need to cooperate by providing truthful information to the police or sometimes to your employer if the accident happened while you were on the job. If you may be at fault for causing an accident and you have insurance, you should report the accident to your own agent or insurance company, and they will usually be able to take care of investigating the accident, settling any claims based on the available coverage, or hiring a lawyer to defend you, if necessary.
(Source: “Personal Injury Law: What You Need to Know” – State Bar of Arizona)
By following the advice above and contacting a respected law firm such as Prescott Law Group soon after the incident, you will help to ensure that evidence is preserved and the incident is properly investigated. These actions will give you the greatest opportunity to secure maximum compensation for your injuries.