Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What should I do if I am involved in a car accident?

Gross & Romanick recommends that you take the following steps:

1. Immediately call for medical assistance if any party to the accident, including yourself or any passengers in your vehicle, is injured. If you believe you may be injured, do not tell the other parties to the accident, the police, or any other responding parties that you are “fine” or “okay”, and do not refuse medical assistance if offered. These actions may later be used against you should you assert a claim for injuries that you actually suffered.

2. Exchange insurance information with all parties involved in the accident. Be sure to obtain the following information from each driver:

- The name of the driver;
- The name of the driver’s insurance company;
- The driver’s insurance policy number; and
- The name and phone number of the driver’s insurance agent.

3. Obtain the following information about each vehicle involved in the accident:

- The name of the owner of the vehicle;
- The license plate number of the vehicle; and
- The year, make and model of the vehicle.

4. Obtain the names, phone numbers and addresses of all passengers in the vehicles involved in the accident.

5. Obtain the names, phone numbers and addresses of all pedestrians involved in the accident and all other witnesses to the accident.

6. If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident and the surrounding area.

7. If your vehicle is towed from the accident site, obtain the name of the towing company, its location and its phone number.

8. If police officers respond to the scene, obtain each officer’s business card, badge number and the accident report number.

9. In speaking with the other parties to the accident, witnesses, and the police, do not volunteer that the accident was your fault. You may be wrong, and this admission can later be used against you.

10. Contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible and obtain a claim number. Your carrier will begin an investigation into the accident, and you are required by your policy to cooperate with your carrier. However, if your insurance company would like a recorded statement, and you are unclear about your rights with respect to the accident or intend to hire a lawyer, you should inform them that you would first like to speak to an attorney.

11. If necessary, follow your carrier’s instructions with respect to repairing the damage to your vehicle.

12. Under no circumstances should you discuss the accident with the other parties to the accident, their insurance carriers, or any private investigators. If you are contacted by the insurance carrier of another party to the accident, you have no obligation to speak with them, and you should not do so without first consulting an attorney.

13. If you are in legitimate need of medical attention in the hours or days following the car accident, see a doctor or visit the emergency room.

14. If you have been injured, you should contact a lawyer, as it is important that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities with respect to the accident, and do not make any mistakes that can jeopardize your claim.

If you are in need of a lawyer, the experienced attorneys and staff at Gross & Romanick can clearly explain to you the claim process, can help you prepare, organize and file your claim, and can skillfully negotiate your claim to a favorable outcome. If necessary, the attorneys at Gross & Romanick are fully prepared to file a lawsuit and advocate your claim in Court.