The few moments after a car accident may be the only time during the entire recovery process that you ever see the other driver face-to-face. Generally, the process of recovering your losses means speaking to insurance agents, possibly car accident lawyers, and sometimes involves another conversation with the other driver.
That means you have a very limited time to learn all that you can about that other driver. Worse yet, you probably won’t be functioning at your best in those moments because you will be in shock after the collision, possibly injured, and/or dealing with others who were hurt as a result of the impact.
The Cliff Notes: Key Takeaways From This Post
We listed actions to take immediately after a car accident; however, here are the key bullet points if you are in a rush:
- Get the other driver’s name, address, and insurance information.
- Do not apologize; take pictures and video of the scene, including license plates of cars involved.
- Talk to witnesses and get their contact information.
- Use a smartphone to take photos of damage; record contact information and insurance details.
- Do not help the negligent driver avoid ticketing.
- Seek a car accident lawyer if uncertain what evidence is needed or if the insurance company is refusing to pay.
What to do in the moments after a car accident
If you are able to speak with that other driver after an accident, be sure to get yourself in as clear a state of mind as possible because there are a few things that you are going to want to ask, and there are also things that you need to make sure you don’t say. At a minimum, you need to write down the other driver’s name, address, and insurance information. Do not apologize. Make sure to get lots of pictures of the damages to both cars. And if you have time, you can even take a short video of the scene and how the cars moved after the crash, as well as of any witnesses standing around.
If there are witnesses, this is your chance to speak to them directly. Record their contact information, and be sure that the law enforcement officers are provided those details so witness statements can be collected. If they drive away, try to snap a picture of their license plates. Car accident lawyers may be able to track them down with that.
Use your phone to collect information after a car accident
Fortunately, today we have certain advantages that we didn’t always have. The majority of those are neatly packaged in smartphones that are nearly always on hand. Built-in cameras make it possible to take pictures and videos of the scene. When taking pictures, be sure to focus on the damage done, a wide shot of the overall scene, and the license plates of cars involved. Notepads and email accounts can be used to record and save contact information and insurance details. And, of course, the phone provides a direct line to the Saint Petersburg police, who you should absolutely call because you will want to have a formal report drawn up.
Do not help the person who negligently caused a crash to get out of a ticket. They broke the law and they need to take responsibility. If they are not given a ticket, their insurance carrier will devalue your case.
Once those hectic moments pass, you can take a breath and really process what happened, but it truly is essential to make the most of that time. The insurance company is not going to be “on your side,” and, though they may try to help you prove that you were not at fault, they will only do so because it means that they won’t have to pay as much on the claim. When it comes to determining what the payout should be, based on the damages and the injuries suffered, the insurance company is not going to offer you top dollar on the claim. You will have to stand up for yourself, and your case is often aided when evidence can be quickly produced.
Seeking a car accident lawyer
If you are not certain that you have the evidence you need, call our office immediately. We will walk you through it. If the collision is over and the insurance company is refusing to pay what is deserved as a result of the damages suffered, or if you have any questions at all, be sure to contact a personal injury attorney. Our professionals can help you get the money you need to cover your losses, whether that compensation is coming from your own insurance company, or the company covering the other driver. And, if you are forced to see the other driver again in the courtroom, that attorney can better ensure that you have what you need to win your case.