Your Auto Accident Lawyer in Columbus, OH
If you were in a car crash your health is the most important thing! Taking care of your health should be your only concern. Protecting your rights is your attorney’s job.
If you were just in an accident, here are the steps to take.
1. Determine whether anyone is hurt
Never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one. Your first priority is safety; everything else can wait. You may feel fine initially, but car accident injuries often only present themselves hours, or even days, after an accident. Make sure everybody’s OK and get medical assistance if you or someone else needs it.
2. Get yourself and your vehicle out of danger
If you’re not injured and the accident was minor, carefully drive your car to the side of the road so it doesn’t impede traffic. Keep your hazard lights on and set up flares or reflective emergency triangles to alert other drivers to slow down. If the crash is more severe or if anyone is hurt, leave the vehicles where they are.
3. Contact the police
While it’s important to report the accident, in some areas the police may not respond to a minor collision. If police arrive, note the officer’s name, badge number, and contact information. Be sure to get a copy of the accident report from the officer. If the police do not come, you can request a copy of the report from the law enforcement office or through the insurance adjuster handling your claim.
4. Collect important information
Use your mobile phone camera to take pictures of documents or, with pen and paper, get the name, address, phone number, and driver’s license number of everyone involved in the accident. If the driver’s name doesn’t match up with the car’s registration or insurance papers, determine the person’s relationship to the vehicle’s owner.
Then, gather all vehicle information, including year, make and model, color, license plate number, and vehicle identification number. Get the other person’s insurance policy number and the insurance company’s phone number in case the other person doesn’t report the accident. See if any witnesses are willing to provide you with contact information and details about what they saw.
Never share your Social Security number, the coverage limits on your insurance policy, or other personal information.
5. Document the scene
Record as much detail about the accident as possible using your mobile phone’s camera, video, and voice memo features, if you have them.
Check the impact to the car: Was it on the front side, driver’s side, rear? It’s easiest to do that by taking a photo of the entire car, as well as close-up photos of the damages for both your car and the other party’s car.
Record the date and time of the accident and photograph or video the entire scene of the accident, including skid marks or property damage. Note street names and the direction each vehicle was heading both before and after the accident.
One thing that often gets missed is the position of the cars relative to the street. This is critical information, because it helps the adjuster re-create the accident when you report the claim
6. Avoid roadside discussions about responsibility
DO NOT TALK TO THE OTHER DRIVER OTHER TO EXCHANGE INFORMATION
Always get their insurance information and ask to see their Driver’s License. If it confrontational, do not pursue.
7. Call your insurance company
While it may be tempting to negotiate a cash deal to avoid making an insurance claim, not notifying your insurance company after a crash can leave you liable for damages stemming from the accident.
8. See your doctor
You may feel perfectly fine right after an accident, but some injuries become apparent only after a day or two. You can sustain serious head or spinal injuries from a minor impact, so visit your doctor if you experience pain or unusual symptoms.
Injuries resulting from a crash are usually included in your auto insurance claim, so it’s important to document any physical harm stemming from the accident.
If you haven’t done so already, designate a spot in your car to keep your registration, proof of insurance card, contact information, and a list of key things you need to remember at the scene of an accident.