If you do a search for this question, you’ve probably found most sites address what to do while you are at the scene of an accident. Let’s face it, if you are in an accident, you are not doing research on what to do. This article addresses those things you should do in the days after an accident. The advice below is applicable to any automobile accident you are involved in. If you learn nothing else from this website, be sure to follow the six steps below.
If you are experiencing ANY physical symptoms from the accident, you should go to the emergency room or your doctor. You do not need to go to the emergency room directly from the accident. But you should seek some sort of medical attention as soon as is practical, no more than one week after the accident. If you wait to see the doctor because you hope the pain resolves on its own and it does not, it may be too late to include the treatment in a claim against the other driver’s insurance.
Insurance companies and juries figure that people who are hurt go to the doctor, and people who are not hurt do not go to the doctor. This is not always true, but that is how they evaluate cases and claims. Most pain and injuries resolve after an accident, but for those cases where the injuries are more serious than they initially appear, seeking prompt medical attention is critical to proving your case.
Hopefully, you already filed a police report at the scene of the accident. If not, you should go to the police department for the town or city in which the accident occurred and make a report. You can make a police report at any time, even after an accident. You can make a police report even if the other driver is not present. You can make a police report even if it was a hit and run accident. A police report is the only proof that an accident occurred. Exchanging information with the other driver, with his or her assurances that they “will take care of everything,” is not enough. File a police report.
Ideally, you should take photos at the scene before the cars have been moved. But we don’t always think of that. The next best thing is to take photos of the damage to your car as well as any bruising, cuts, or any other visible reminder of the accident. The expression “a picture is worth a thousand words” is even more important when it comes to a car accident.
Injuries heal, cars are repaired or totaled, but photos live forever. If you have to go to the tow yard to take photos, by all means, do so. Don’t forget this important step.
But the accident wasn’t my fault, why should I call my insurance company? First, your insurance may be able to help you with your claim. They may be able to expedite getting your car fixed or your medical bills paid. The insurance company for the other driver may be a substandard carrier which may mean difficulty getting your car fixed or your medical bills paid.
Second, although the other driver showed you or the police an insurance card, it does not mean that their insurance was valid. You may find out days or weeks after the accident that their insurance was not valid. Your accident may become an uninsured motorist claim.
You may not feel like the accident was your fault, but the police may have written the police report up in a way which casts doubt on how the accident occurred. If there is any doubt in how the accident happened, your insurance company needs to know. This is why you have insurance in the first place.
Finally, your insurance rates will not go up simply because you report the accident to your insurance company. If the accident was not your fault, reporting the accident does not count as a claim. Report the car accident to your insurance company.