What to Do If You Are Injured In a Car Crash
Get medical treatment – If you are injured in a car crash, the absolute most important thing to do is get the medical treatment you need. This is more important than anything else listed below, as your health and well-being are more important than taking steps to prepare for an insurance claim. However, if your injuries do not prevent you sticking around at the scene, things like photographs and a police report may prove to be very helpful in an eventual claim brought with the other driver’s insurance company.
Call the police – Often times after being involved in a car crash, people are shaken up and have a difficult time remembering to get all the necessary information from other drivers involved. The police are used to dealing with such situations and will usually assist with the exchange of information, which allows you to begin the claim process with the necessary insurance companies. The police will usually interview witnesses and write a police report, which often includes diagrams of what happened in the crash. A police report is often very helpful in proving what happened.
Exchange information with all others involved – If the police do not respond and assist with the exchange of information, make sure that you get the following information from all other drivers involved, even if you don’t think they were at fault:
- Name of driver
- Driver’s license number
- Vehicle license plate
- Auto insurance company
- Auto insurance policy number
Take pictures – If your injuries do not prevent you from taking pictures at the scene of the crash, photographs you take may be useful in proving what happened. Even if the police are called and take photos as part of the police investigation, you should still take your own pictures. Take as many pictures as you can, from as many viewpoints as possible. Things to take pictures of:
- The entire scene, showing the location of all vehicles involved, from as many angles as possible
- Damage to the vehicles
- Skid marks on the road
- Damage to any other objects resulting from the crash (i.e. guard rails, trees, sign posts)
- Vehicle tracks in the dirt/mud/sand, if any vehicle left the roadway
- License plates of all vehicles involved (if the license plate was recorded incorrectly in the exchange of information, this will ensure that you have the correct info)
Report the incident to the at-fault driver’s insurance company – If you are injured in a car crash due to someone else’s negligence, that person’s insurance company generally ends up responsible for paying your claim. It is helpful to let the insurance company know as soon as possible that you have been hurt and will be asserting a claim. However, often times insurance companies request a recorded statement regarding the incident. We recommend that you do not give a recorded statement until after you consult with a lawyer.
Report the incident to your own insurance company – Most insurance policies require that you promptly report any potential claims. Even if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, there are a variety of benefits available under your own policy, so it is helpful to let your own insurance know about the crash as soon as possible.
Seek legal advice – The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the sooner that lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you to make educated decisions about how to proceed with your claim. For a free consultation, call our lawyers at (206) 624-8844.
Do not immediately accept the first settlement offer – Insurance companies commonly make quick, low-ball settlement offers which often fail to address the current and long-term damages auto accident victims suffer. We recommend that you always consult with a lawyer before agreeing to settle your claim.