Getting into a car accident can be very stressful, especially if it wasn’t your fault. One of the things we get asked the most is what to do after you’ve been in a car accident. Here is a quick list of some of the things to do and remember. This list contains some pointers, but by no means should be considered an exhaustive list that covers all situations and scenarios that can surround a car accident:
- CALL 911: If anyone is injured, immediately called 911 and ask for an ambulance, as well as the police.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION: Make sure you exchange information with the other driver, including your names, phone numbers, addresses, make and model of the vehicles, including license plate numbers, and insurance information from any drivers involved. An easy way to store some of this information is to take pictures of driver’s licenses, license plates and insurance cards. If there are passengers in any vehicles or witnesses that identify themselves, try to obtain their information as well.
- TAKE PICTURES: Take pictures of any damage to vehicles involved in the accident, the accident scene, or anything that may have contributed to the accident (i.e., road construction, objects in the road, icy patches, etc.).
- BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY: It’s completely appropriate to check on drivers and passengers in the other car(s) and see if they need medical attention or help. However, never admit fault for the accident, not even to the police. Even if you think you were at fault, it may not be immediately clear who was actually at fault or contributed to the accident. DO NOT allow the other driver’s insurance company to take a recorded statement from you. If you have any suspicions that the other driver(s) may try to blame you for the accident, you do not have to speak with their insurance company at all.
- CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: Contact your insurance company as soon as it’s practical. While you should answer any questions about the accident truthfully, be mindful of what you say, especially if the insurance company is taking a recorded statement.
- IF YOU’RE INJURED, SEE YOUR DOCTOR: Delaying your medical treatment can impact your medical diagnosis and recovery time as well as have an effect on how your case is evaluated for settlement by the other driver’s insurance company.
- DON’T SETTLE TOO QUICKLY: Some insurance companies will offer you a quick payment in exchange for a settlement of your case and a release of all claims. In the state of Maryland, as a general rule, you have 3 years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit, so before settling your case, it’s important to make sure all of your injuries have been diagnosed and if possible, treated. Once you settle your case, you cannot come back for more money.
- IF IN DOUBT, CONTACT A LAWYER: If you’re unsure of your options, including what costs and expenses you can recover and what your case is worth, contact an attorney. Consultations for these types of cases are almost always free.