Car Accident Checklist
It only takes a few seconds for the violent impact of a car accident to completely alter your life. Once the overwhelming fear, screech of tires and crunching metal are silenced, your first thoughts may be what to do next. Whether the accident was caused by bad weather conditions or a reckless driver, it’s imperative you collect the right information to move forward with your insurance or personal injury claim.
After decades of working with car accident victims, The Flood Law Firm knows just how critical an individual’s response is to an accident. Our firm is proud to have successfully represented car accident victims for over a decade, and our tactics have secured millions for our clients.
When you’re in an accident you may be furious that someone hit you, but it’s important to stay calm. Anger often leads to poor decision-making. If you or anyone else has been injured, stay composed and dial 911 right away. A calm attitude makes it easier for emergency dispatch to understand and respond to your situation.
Next, turn on your hazard lights. If it is safe to do so, pull you vehicle over to the side of the road so as not to block traffic. Wait for the police to arrive and be sure to give them your full cooperation when they do.
Even if you suspect that you are largely to blame for the accident, do not admit fault to anyone. Don’t even say sorry, since this can imply guilt. Stating or implying the accident is your fault can negatively impact your claim.
If you have a smartphone or camera handy, document the evidence by taking photos of the accident location, the other driver’s license plate, the damage to both vehicles, and any injuries you or your passenger(s) may have sustained.
Safety Note: Only take photos if you are safely able to do so, without causing you or anyone else further injury.
Protect Your Identity
If the driver of the other car asks to take a picture of your driver’s license, you can politely refuse. A photo like this may put you at risk for identity theft. Exchanging your name and auto insurance information should be enough for them to contact you at a later date.
Notate the Accident
Write down the events leading to the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. This will help strengthen your claim. Remember to include the following information:
Time and Date
If it’s three pm on a Wednesday, be sure to state that.
This includes the physical address, cross street and landmark where the accident occurred.
Weather and Traffic Conditions
In some cases, the weather can play a big part in causing a collision. This is especially true during heavy rain and winter storms.
Describe Any Damage to Your Vehicle
Is the rear-end of your car crumpled like an accordion? Are your left side passenger doors smashed, inverted and unable to open from impact? Note the damage and share it with your insurance adjuster. If police have been called to the scene, they will record the damages to both vehicles. It may strengthen your case if your personal notes match the police report findings.
Was Anyone Injured? If So, Describe
Even a slight cut on your forehead should be recorded. If a passenger or the other driver was injured, describe what you can see. It’s important to remember that not all injuries are readily apparent. Any time you’ve been in an accident, seeking medical attention is the surest way to help protect your health and your claim.
Did the Other Party Admit to Fault?
If the other party admits fault at the scene, write this in your notes to share with a car accident attorney or your insurance adjuster. They may be able to get a written statement of fault from the other party’s insurer.
This is arguably the most important information to retrieve in an auto accident. You will need their:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number and state of issuance
- Insurance provider
- Policy number
If the owner of the vehicle is not the person driving at the time of the accident, you will need this information too.
Describing the other car involved in your accident is just as important as who was driving. Be sure to collect the vehicle:
- License plate
- Any damages to this vehicle
Keep in Mind
- Time Constraints in Filing a Claim: The state of Connecticut has strict time limitations for personal injury cases. Don’t delay in getting the help you need, otherwise your rights to a claim may be rendered invalid.
- Reporting an Accident Is Important! Failure to report an accident to your insurer may be considered failure to cooperate, which could hurt both your insurance rates and your injury claim.
- A Lawyer Can Truly Help: This is especially true if injuries are involved – from seemingly minor to grave and life-altering. Any settlement offered by an insurance company will unlikely meet your future needs. A personal injury lawyer with a track record of success may be able to win the compensation you need to get on with your life.
How an Attorney Can Help You
The Flood Law Firm has helped hundreds of car accident victims get on the path to physical and financial recovery. We’d like to help relieve the pain and frustration of legal issues, and offer free case evaluations and contingency based services. If we don’t win your case, you pay us nothing.
Let us advise you on your legal options today. Contact us by filling out the form on this page or call us at 860-346-2695.