I was in an accident. Now what?
At Fortman Law we are well-versed in personal injury claims as a result of a car accident. We have handled numerous personal injury claims throughout the State of Missouri, including motor vehicle accidents, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractor trailers/semi-trucks. Below is some of our practical, strategic advice.
I was in an accident. Now what?
While we hope you never have to experience a car accident, if you do, we want you to know what to do. Parents don’t forget to teach your young drivers what to do as well!
MAKE SURE YOU ARE SAFE. First and foremost is your safety. How to get to safety will greatly depend on the location of the accident along with the severity of the car damage and your injuries. For example, if it is a minor collision, move your vehicles to the side of the road out of the way of moving traffic. If your car is unmovable and your injuries do not render you immobile, turn on all the vehicle lights and flashers, exit the vehicle, and proceed to a safe location on the side of the road. On the other hand, you could be safest in your vehicle. This is one of those situations where you will need to use your best judgement depending on the location and severity of the accident.
CALL THE POLICE. We always recommend you call the police, even if it is a minor accident. For minor collisions, it is best to look up the local police department non-emergency phone number and ask for an officer to be dispatched to your location. If you are unsure of your specific location, either use your phone to determine your location or when in doubt, call 9-1-1. For any accident involving injuries needing immediate medical attention, call 9-1-1 immediately. Regardless of the size and severity of the accident, it is a best practice to have the police arrive and complete a police report. Insurance companies will ask for one 100% of the time, even if it is only property damage with no physical injuries.
TAKE PICTURES & GET INFORMATION. It is important to take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicle damage done to any vehicle, the other driver’s license plate, drivers license, and insurance card. We recommend you ask before taking a picture of any driver’s license. If the other driver is not comfortable with you taking a picture, you simply need to write down the driver’s name, license number, and address. You will also want to get the other driver’s phone number. Please note that if this is a multi-vehicle accident, you will want the information from each driver involved. In addition to drivers involved, you need to determine if there are any witnesses to the accident. For example, if the accident occurred in front of a bus stop where people were waiting, you would want to ask the people at the bus stop if they saw the accident happen. If so, ask them for their name and contact information just in case liability is challenged when you make a claim. The more information you can gather, the better!
CALL FORTMAN LAW. As soon as practical after an accident, you should call us. Once again, when you are able to do so will greatly depend on the severity of the situation. But one thing is certain, call us BEFORE you call any insurance company including the other drivers or your own. Insurance companies are notorious for trying to collect information and statements from you. The collection of that information and statements is NOT to benefit you. It is done solely to benefit the insurance company and is often used against you. For example, you may have just been in an accident and the insurance company asks if you have been injured. You tell them no because it only happened a couple hours ago and you feel fine. Yet you wake up the next morning incredibly sore. As it turns out you are not fine. The problem then becomes, you told the insurance company that you were. Therefore, it is a best practice to contact us BEFORE you make any kind of report to the insurance company. From the moment you contact us, we will guide you through the process making it as smooth as possible for you.
I didn’t follow the above steps.
CALL FORTMAN LAW. While the above steps are ideal, we understand that accidents can be alarming and, as such, you might not have followed the recommended steps. You also just might not have known what to do or were simply unable due to the circumstances of the accident. It is okay! Your next most important step is to contact us and tell us what happened. Depending on what you did or did not do, we can help guide you as to the next steps. The bottom line is Fortman Law is here to help you make the process as smooth as possible.
WHEN IN DOUBT, JUST CALL FORTMAN LAW.
Law Office of Jonathan E. Fortman, LLC