No one intends to get into a car accident, and while we do everything possible to avoid accidents on the road, we cannot control what other motorists do or don’t do. Whether other drivers are driving intoxicated, talking or texting on their phone, distracted by a passenger in their vehicle, or just have a simple lapse in concentration or judgment, the consequences can be catastrophic. With this in mind, we’ve got some advice to help protect you and your loved ones before, during, and after a collision.
1: Have Proper Insurance Coverage – Different drivers have different needs. Know your situation, or discuss with a knowledgeable insurance professional or trusted injury attorney, to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected. Technically, there is no such thing as “full coverage” so please understand whether you simply comply with minimum state liability requirements or if you have any of the numerous, additional protections in place.
2: Keep All Documents in the Car – To avoid any hassle or future penalties, we recommend keeping your driver’s license, insurance card, and registration in your vehicle. You do not need to have your actual insurance policy and declarations page in your vehicle, but please ensure that you have copies safely secured at home or via the internet / an electronic device.
3: First Aid – You don’t need any specialized medical training, although simple first aid training and CPR certifications are highly encouraged. However, you should have a first aid kit in your vehicle. We recommend purchasing a kit specifically designed for motor vehicles / motorcycles, which typically include safety items such as flashlights and/or flares, in addition to the usual gloves, antiseptic wipes, and bandages.
During an Accident (At the Scene)
1: Stay Calm – After a crash, this might sound like strange advice, but it’s very important to remain calm. You may feel the adrenaline pumping or feel extremely anxious, but remember to breathe, sit still for a moment, and gather your thoughts so that you can make wise decisions. We want you to successfully care for yourself, your loved ones, and others that might have been injured in the crash.
2: Prevent Further Accidents – If there are no serious injuries and/or the collision is relatively minor, move your vehicle out of traffic and switch the engine off, but leave your hazard lights on. Using your first aid kit, it might be necessary to set up flares and/or flashlights as needed to prevent further accidents.
3: Check Yourself and Others – First, assess your injuries and pain symptoms. If you have serious injuries and/or are unable to assess yourself, remain calm and wait for Emergency Medical Services. If you are okay and can safely do so, you should check on your passengers and/or other individuals involved or injured in the collision.
4: Call an Ambulance – If anyone is seriously injured, you/they should remain calm and wait for Emergency Medical Services. It is important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine, if you’ve been involved in a significant crash, you should definitely seek medical evaluation and/or diagnostics to confirm that there are no serious injuries or problems that might develop or worsen later. Better safe then sorry, as the saying goes.
5: Phone the Police – No matter how minor the accident, get the police involved so there is an official record of the accident. It is quite normal to exchange insurance information, but your best bet to avoid any problems later is to get the police involved immediately. We know that it can take a long time for the police to arrive, but you should remain patient and wait, as long as it takes.
6: Gather Evidence – In terms of evidence, gather as much information as you can. Today, almost everyone has a smartphone with a built-in camera; use it. Take photos of the individuals and vehicles involved. The photos should document not just the property damages, but also the scene. While the police should assist you in appropriately documenting the necessary information, you should do your best to obtain descriptions of vehicles, license plates, insurance company name and policy number, as well as names of other drivers, passengers, police officer, and definitely contact information of independent eyewitnesses.
7: DO NOT – Believe it or not, some of the most common mistakes after an accident occur at the scene itself. For example, you should NEVER:
- Admit fault,
- Sign papers (except police forms/documents when applicable),
- Allow the other driver to photograph your registration or license,
- Discuss the incident with anyone other than the police, or
- Leave the scene before the police arrive or before other involved parties have left the scene.
1: Contact Your Insurance Company – When you arrive home, put your insurance company on notice of the collision. Do not agree to a recorded statement, at that time; However, it is important that you comply with the terms of your insurance policy so that you will be entitled to all benefits. If your insurance insists on a recorded statement, advise them you intend to hire an attorney and please contact us right away. Locate a copy of your insurance policy and declarations page, or request this from your insurance company, if you cannot find your copy.
2: Compile Your Evidence – Start organizing evidence; print or back up the photographs and type up the information you documented at the scene. Continue to photograph your injuries and journey, from ambulance to hospital to recovery. Find a safe place to store this information, as well as police reports, tow slips, off-work disability slips, prescription receipts or other out of pocket expenses, correspondence you receive in the mail, etc.
3: Seek Medical Treatment – Injuries from a motor vehicle accident may not be immediately apparent. You may not feel any pain for a day or two after your accident, or you might think your injuries and pain symptoms are minor. However, it is very important for your health and well-being, in addition to your claims, to seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Even minor impact accidents may cause serious injuries, which left untreated can worsen and become permanent. It is always best to get checked out, and have your injuries and pain complaints documented.
4: Follow Your Doctor’s Advice – Only by following your doctor’s advice can you hope to hasten your recovery. You should advise your doctor of all medical complaints, including minor ones, so your medical condition can be properly documented and evaluated. Before beginning settlement negotiations with the insurance company, we recommend that all medical treatment be completed or you reach maximum medical improvement. It is impossible to intelligently evaluate your case until treatment is completed and all final medical bills, corresponding records and wage loss information are reviewed.
5: Keep All Medical Paperwork – Whenever you receive medical treatment, keep the associated bills/co-pays, discharge paperwork and, if possible, your own detailed notes about the treatment. In addition, we recommend that you diary or journal how your injuries and pain symptoms affect you and your life. This would include activities of daily living, as well as how your injuries and pain symptoms impact your family, work, school, etc.
6: Get Your Car Evaluated – How much damage did your vehicle sustain as a result of the collision? A valuation by an independent collision center will help determine this important information. This is a very important component of your claim that is often overlooked, misunderstood or neglected, and that most personal injury law firms do not assist with. Contact Lebovitz Law Group to learn more. In addition, if you are in a rental, be advised you have a duty to keep your rental expenses to a minimum. The insurance company is only responsible for those charges they deem to be reasonable and necessary. Should you decide to add insurance to the rental contract, be advised that this may not be reimbursable, as your own automobile policy should cover you while you are in the rental. If you do not carry full coverage on your own vehicle, however, please let us know. Keep in mind that excessive and/or optional rental charges are not reimbursable.
7: Do Not Discuss Your Accident with Anyone – The exceptions are your medical providers and personnel of your attorney’s office. Generally, you may call to put other insurance companies on notice of the collision and open a claim, but do not agree to provide a recorded statement. If an insurance adjuster calls for a statement, wait until you’ve spoken with an attorney.
8: Contact a Trusted Injury Law Firm – Consult with an attorney. Lebovitz Law Group knows how to aggressively fight the insurance companies, their adjusters and lawyers to ensure that you are treated fairly and get the compensation you deserve. We will always work hard to (1) make sure you have access to the care needed to recover from your injuries and (2) get you top dollar compensation for your injuries and damages. The sooner you call an attorney, the better chance of success (and statistically, the higher the recovery) on your case.
9: Social Media – If you engage in social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, or any other platofrm or network, we recommend that you DO NOT post or comment about your accident or the status of your case. We also recommend that you change your privacy settings to private. Please note that ANYTHING you post on these social media networks (even if not accident related) can be used against you in your accident case.
10: Lost Income – When you are unable to work at any time during the recovery period, you must keep your employer advised. It is also important for you to obtain disability certificates from your treating physician(s) and to provide a copy of the off-work disability slip(s) both to your employer and your attorney’s office.