Car Accident Checklist
After an auto accident, things can begin to move quickly. This checklist is designed to help you take the steps necessary to protect your legal rights.5 Steps to Take at the Scene of the Accident
At the scene of the accident, you should:
- Call 911
Call 911 to report the accident. Ask for a police officer to be dispatched to the scene. If you need emergency medical attention, tell the call operator that you need an ambulance.
- Collect the Other Driver’s Insurance Information
If the other driver stayed at the scene, take down his or her insurance information, license plate number, and vehicle make and model.
- Collect Contact Information from Any Witnesses
If anyone else stopped to help, ask for their name, phone number and email address.
- Photograph Everything
Take photographs of everything – your car, the other car, the road, traffic signals, signs, guard rails, your injuries, damage to your personal items, and the general surroundings.
- >Make Sure You Know Where Your Car is Being Taken
If your car is being towed, make sure you know where it is being taken so that you can get it back for your estimate.
- Steps to Take As Soon as Possible Once You Get Home
Once you get home, you should:
- Take a Deep Breath
You’ve been through a lot, but now the worst of it should be over. Take a deep breath, collect your thoughts, and try to do something normal.
- Write Down as Many Details as You Can Remember
While the accident is still fresh in your mind, write down as many details as you can remember. Which lane were you in? Where did the other car come from? No detail is too small.
- Make Sure You Remember Your Doctor’s Advice
Do you know what you are supposed to do to care for, dress and treat your injuries? If you have any questions about your doctor’s advice, call the office to get clarification.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
After an accident, you should contact your insurance company promptly. This is true even if you believe that the other driver was at fault in the accident. Learn more.
- Contact Your Employer
If you have missed time from work or expect to miss time in the future, you will need your employer to provide appropriate records to support your claim.
- Call a Local Auto Accident Attorney
While you need to report the accident to your insurance company, you should not give a recorded statement, and you need to avoid other mistakes that could jeopardize your recovery. Hiring a local auto accident attorney is the best way to protect yourself and maximize your financial recovery.
- Take a Deep Breath
In order to pursue your claim, your attorney will need any information that you have available. While you do not necessarily need to have all of these documents, if you have them available, you should gather them to bring to your free initial consultation:
- Police Report
- Information You Collected at the Scene
- Your Photos from the Accident
- Your Notes
- Your Auto Insurance Policy
- Your Claims Adjuster’s Contact Information
- Medical Records, Bills, and Statements of Benefits (SOBs)
- Employment Records
As you wait to receive an acceptable settlement offer or for your trial date to arrive, you should:
- Continue to Follow Your Doctor’s Advice
Do not ignore your doctor’s advice. If you delay your recovery or exacerbate your injuries, the insurance companies will use this against you.
- Continue to Collect Your Medical Records and Receipts
As you receive additional medical records, SOBs, and receipts for doctor’s visits and medical supplies, make sure you keep them to give to your attorney.
- Refer Any Insurance Adjusters or Claims Representatives to Your Attorney
If you receive any calls, emails or letters from the insurance company, refer the person who contacted you to your attorney.
- Keep a Daily Journal or Pain Log
Write down a few notes every day: How bad was your pain? Did you miss work or any other events (such as children’s games or recitals)? How else did your injuries impact your life?
- Avoid Discussing the Accident In-Person or Online
Until your case is over, you should not discuss the accident with anyone except your attorney. This applies in-person and online.
- Stay in Close Contact with Your Law Firm
Your law firm will need to contact you about various aspects of your claim. Respond to all calls, texts and emails promptly and get in touch if you have any questions or new information.
If you have received a settlement offer, in order to decide whether to accept, you should carefully assess:
- Your Future Medical Needs
Your future medical needs are likely to make up a significant portion of your claim. Before you settle, you need to make sure you have a clear picture of the costs you are likely to incur in the future.
- Any Limitations on Your Ability to Work
“Lost future earning capacity” is a significant portion of many auto accident claims as well. If you will be unable to work or forced to take a lower-paying job, you need to know what this is going to cost you in the future.
- Your Total Out-of-Pocket Losses
Medical bills, medical supplies, gas, childcare expenses, lawncare bills – these are all losses (among many others) that you may be entitled to recover.
- Your Pain and Suffering
The severity and long-term effects of your pain and suffering will greatly impact the value of your claim. You will need to work closely with your attorney to determine the financial value of your pain and suffering.
- All Other Effects of Your Injuries
You may be entitled to financial compensation for other losses as well. Once again, the best way to make sure you accurately calculate these losses is to discuss your claim with an experienced attorney.
For more information about protecting your right to financial compensation after an auto accident in South Florida, please call (888) 751-7770 or contact us online. We will schedule your free initial consultation as soon as possible.