Getting in a car accident of any kind can be a scary experience. Driving is a routine aspect of our day to day lives, but accidents can happen at any time even to the most cautious drivers. The stress and shock of a car accident can become overwhelming even in a minor collision.
We meet with people who have been injured in car accidents on a daily basis. Through no fault of their own, many of these people are not aware of what they should/could have done after the accident to best facilitate their recovery, or how they should respond to questions from insurance companies. Regardless of the type of injury you sustain in a car accident, there are several important steps to be aware of to maximize your recovery, and to preserve your rights to a claim after the fact.
Check for Injuries:
The first priority after you’ve been in a car accident is to check any and all parties involved for injuries. If there is even the possibility that an injury could be serious or requires medical attention, call 911 and wait for emergency personnel to respond. Know that it may take hours or days after an accident for certain muscular or nerve injuries to become known to you. This is normal.
Obtain All Relevant Information from Parties Involved:
Once it is safe to do so, you should always obtain the registration and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. This includes names and addresses, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers, vehicle registration documents, and insurance documents, including the company name and policy number. It is very important to know this information when dealing with insurance issues after the accident. Also, you should make notes of the scene (location, direction of travel, weather, time of day) and take photographs of the scene/property damage as appropriate. If there are any witnesses at the scene of the accident, be sure to take down their names and contact information.
Notify the Police:
Even if the accident is minor, you should notify the police so that an accident report can be filed. You should make a note of the name of the Investigating officer and the report number if possible.
Seek Medical Attention Where Appropriate:
If you are involved in a car accident and are experiencing any pain, stiffness, or discomfort, seek medical attention right away either at the hospital, with your family doctor, or a walk in clinic, depending on the circumstances.
Notify Your Insurance Company Immediately:
Even if you are not at fault for the accident, you should generally always notify your own insurance company. Your insurance company requires information from the accident to open what’s called a “Section B” claim, which are no-fault accident benefits that cover your immediate medical treatment and other important costs/losses. The sooner you report the accident to your insurer, the sooner you will be covered to go through the appropriate treatment – whether physiotherapy, massage, or other treatments. If you are injured as a passenger in someone else’s car, as a pedestrian, or a as cyclist, you would generally make a Section B claim through the driver’s insurance company.
Statements and Signatures:
Do not sign anything unless it is required by police or your own insurance company or their agents. If the other parties’ insurance companies contact you asking questions, you are not required to provide them with a statement.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
Even if you do not intend to formally retain a lawyer to help with your car accident claim, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to at least learn the basics about your rights. Our experienced personal injury lawyers offer free consultations for all personal injury matters. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident or other type of incident and are seeking assistance or advice, do not hesitate to call Valent Legal to explore your rights and options.