If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to deal with the headache of being involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, most of us will be involved in a collision at some point in our lives. Statistics show that over the course of a typical long, driving lifetime, you should have a total of three to four accidents. When you are involved in an accident there are numerous problems that arise. First, and foremost, are any of the people involved hurt? Even low impact collisions can cause injuries, including injuries you don’t feel immediately after the accident. Here are a few tips on what to do if you’re involved in a car accident.
If either driver feels they’ve been injured or there is any vehicle damage, call the police. Calling the police doesn’t necessarily mean one of the drivers will get a ticket or arrested, but it does ensure that there will be documentation of what happened including the identity of all persons involved and any witnesses. A police report can be a vital piece of information if a dispute about the collision arises.
The police officer that responds will be gathering as much information about the collision as he or she can, but this doesn’t mean you can’t collect your own too. If you have a smart phone take pictures and take notes. Pictures of injuries to yourself, vehicle damage, license plate numbers, skid marks, traffic signals and mile markers on the road, are all valuable pieces of evidence to preserve. You don’t have to be exhaustive, just get what you believe to be the important evidence. If you do end up in an insurance dispute or lawsuit, contemporaneous pictures and notes could help you against the other driver when often times collisions are not witnessed and the case becomes one of “he said versus she said.”
In addition to calling the police you’ll want to exchange insurance information with the other driver. In Massachusetts, like many states, drivers are required to have car insurance. Whether you are at fault or the other driver is, let your insurance agent handle the paperwork. And even if the other driver doesn’t have car insurance, call your insurance provider. Properly insured vehicles provide coverages for you in the event the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. Let your insurance work for you. And let your insurance agent, broker or company know what is going on.
Finally, if you think there is the potential for a claim or lawsuit resulting from the collision, contact an attorney or your insurance provider. If you are at fault and a lawsuit is brought against you, your insurance carrier will provide you with a lawyer as a part of your coverage. If the other driver is at fault and you don’t think the other insurance carrier is offering fair compensation for your injuries or fair value for your vehicle, find your own lawyer. Even if it is a minor accident, lawyers are much better equipped to deal with insurance carriers and the necessary paperwork. It’s their job.
If you or any member of your family has been injured in a motor vehicle collision or had difficulty dealing with an insurance company, the lawyers at HBMH law are well positioned and qualified to discuss your legal options.