The Auto Accident Checklist

Auto accidents are incredibly frightening experiences, even if you only suffer minor bruising and a dented fender. One minute you are driving along Dixie Highway, heading home after a long day at the office, and the next you’re in the ditch, the sky at a strange angle above you and the smell of burned rubber in your nostrils.

In a situation like this, it can be difficult to think clearly, but there are actions you should take to preserve a future personal injury claim. If you’re able to exit the vehicle, do so and move to a place of safety. Then follow the steps below.

  1. Remain at the scene.

Do not drive away after an accident, even if the occupants of all affected vehicles appear to be all right. Some injuries take hours or even days to manifest their severity. Definitely do not leave if there are visible injuries, even if it is to take one of your passengers to the hospital. Call 911 and wait for an ambulance instead.

  1. Call the police.

Call the police and report the accident. When the officers arrive, obtain their names and badge numbers and ask that a police report be filed. You will need a copy of it when you file a claim for any injuries or property damage.

  1. Get the driver’s information.

Get together with all the drivers involved and collect their contact details and insurance information. As you all exchange information, be careful what you say. Never admit fault by saying something like, “I thought I could make that red light – I’m so sorry!”

  1. Get contact information for all witnesses.

If there were witnesses to the accident, ask them what they saw. Try to collect their contact information. If they live in the area, ask them if they know of any other car accidents taking place in the same location.

  1. Take pictures.

If your phone was not damaged in the collision, use it to take pictures of the accident site. Note the general area, the damage to all cars, and their placement. If there are any abnormalities, such as a broken signpost or a traffic sign obscured by foliage, be sure to capture them too.

  1. Get medical treatment.

Once you have taken photos and collected the contact information for all drivers, witnesses. and responding police officers, see your doctor right away. (If they are unavailable, go to the hospital emergency room instead.) At the very least, you will want documentary evidence of your injuries. It’s also possible that you are more injured than you realize, and a thorough medical examination will discover a problem before it becomes a crisis.

  1. Notify your insurance company.

Call your insurance company and advise them that you’ve been in an accident. Provide your adjustor with all requested information, such as:

  • A copy of the police report
  • The results of a damage valuation for your car
  • Details of your medical examination and any treatments you are undergoing

If you have additional coverage under your homeowner’s policy or policies on other cars in your household, advise them of the accident too.

  1. Comply with all medical instructions.

If you require ongoing medical and rehabilitative treatment from doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other providers, make sure you take all prescribed medications and follow all treatment instructions. If you fail to do so, your claim may be minimized because you will be seen as refusing to support your recovery.

  1. Hire a personal injury attorney.If you suffered injuries that will impact your earning ability and quality of life, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist you in maximizing your recovery. Once you retain an attorney, refer any calls from another driver’s insurer to them.

At McKINNON LEGAL, our Florida car accident attorneys will use our resources, experience, and dedication to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track after a serious collision. We believe that you shouldn’t have to pay for another party’s negligent conduct, and will hold at-fault parties accountable for your injuries. To arrange a consultation, contact us for more information and speak to our attorneys today.