Ironically, 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 attorneys, 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.
So, if you are able to speak with that other driver, be sure to get yourself in as clear a state of mind as possible moments after a car accident because there are a few things that you are definitely going to want to ask; there are also things that you definitely don’t want to say. Be sure, at the very least, you 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! 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 any witnesses standing around.
If there are witnesses, this is also your chance to speak to them directly. Record their contact information as well, 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. We may be able to track them down with that.
Fortunately, today we have certain advantages that we didn’t always have. The majority of those are neatly packaged in the smartphones that are nearly always on-hand. Built-in cameras make it possible to take pictures and video 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.
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.