What Should I Do if I’m Injured in an Automobile Accident?
For your convenience, we have prepared an “Accident Information Form” to keep in your car’s glove compartment. Please call our firm at (607) 565-8155 to request a copy. Or simply print out this page and keep it handy for easy reference in case you are in an accident.
When you are involved in a car accident and and justifiably “shaken up” you do not always have the presence of mind to gather the information you will need later to pursue a claim for damage to your vehicle and/or for personal injuries. Although circumstances sometimes make it impossible to gather information at the accident scene (due to the severity of your injuries or because you have been taken from the scene by ambulance), it is preferable to collect information right away.
1. Following the impact, assess your condition, Check for broken bones, bruises or bleeding. Take a moment to regain your composure – an auto collision is a traumatic event. Give yourself some time to get your thoughts in order.
2. After you have made sure that you are okay and have composed yourself, check on your passengers. Once you have determined their condition, get out of your car, if you are able to do so.
3. If at all possible, you should not move the vehicles. The police will not prepare a report if the vehicles have been moved.
4. Examine the damage to your vehicle and to the other driver’s vehicle. Make written notes about the damage to both cars, and if possible take photos with your cell phone of the location of the vehicles and the damage to the vehicles. Be sure to copy down the other vehicle’s license plate number. (Even if you do not have any other information about the other driver, we can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in most jurisdictions and obtain driver and insurance information from the tag number).
5. Assuming the other driver remains at the scene, get his/her name and address, work and home phone numbers, driver’s license and car registration numbers, and the name and policy number of the driver’s automobile insurance company. If the driver does not own the vehicle that he/she was driving, you need to obtain the same information about the owner that you obtained about the driver.
6. If any witnesses to the accident have stopped at the scene, make certain the police are aware of them. If the witness(es) cannot wait for the police to arrive, you should ask them how they can be contacted.
7. If the police arrive on the scene to investigate, you should get the name of the reporting police officer, his/her badge number and his/her duty station. Most importantly, get the police report number. (Frequently, if you or the other driver are taken to the hospital by ambulance, the only source of information from the scene will be the police report.)
8. If your vehicle has to be towed, get a receipt from the towing company; write on the receipt the name of the crane operator and information regarding where the car is to be stored. Be sure to verify the towing and storage charges.
9. Once you are able, call your insurance company to report the collision, even if the accident was caused by the other driver. Although the other party is at fault, it may take his/her insurance carrier 7-10 days to complete its investigation and, in the meantime, you may want to have your company begin the repairs on your car. If your coverage includes use of a rental vehicle, you will want your insurance carrier to make the arrangements for you. (Don’t worry about your company paying for repairs.) When the other party’s insurance company finishes its investigation and admits liability, it will assume responsibility for the car repair and once the liability issue is resolved, the other insurance company will reimburse both your insurance company for the property damage repair and you for your deductible.
10. If you receive a call from the other party’s insurance company, ask for the name and telephone number of the adjuster calling and his/her company’s claim number. Do not discuss the case with the adjuster or answer questions about your injuries or how you are feeling. Do not agree to give the adjuster a recorded statement. The adjuster is not your friend and is not concerned about you, your injuries or your claim. Rather, the adjuster hopes to secure a statement from you that will best assist the company in either defending its insured’s negligence action or minimizing the seriousness of your injuries.
11. Finally, if you suffered an injury in the collision you need to do a few things: First, seek immediate medical advice and/or treatment, because your health is far more important than your property damage or any potential case. Second, once you have received the medical attention you need, several states require you to file a no-fault claim, there are certain time periods that apply and failure to file within the specified time period may result in non-payment, so call your insurance agent to get a form. Third, call a personal injury attorney who has the expertise to assess your circumstances, determine the potential of any possible legal action and protect you and your interests.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’VE BEEN HIT!
Notes: (regarding damage to both vehicles) _________________________________________________________
(Take Pictures with a Cell phone of location of vehicles and damage.)
Other vehicle’s license plate number: __________________
Other driver’s name: _______________________________
Work #: ___________________ Home #: _________________ Cell #: ________________
Driver’s license #: ___________________ Registration #: ___________________________
Name and Policy number of the other driver’s automobile insurance company:
Name: _____________________________ Policy #: ________________________________
(If driver is not the owner of the vehicle.)
Owner’s Name: ___________________________
Work #: ___________________ Home #: ________________ Cell #: _________________
Driver’s license #: ___________________ Registration #: _____________________________
Name and Policy number of the owner’s automobile insurance company:
Name: _____________________________ Policy #: _________________________________
Name of Police Officer: ____________________________ Badge #: _____________________
Duty Station: _____________________________________ Police Report #: ______________
(If your vehicle has to be towed.)
Get a receipt from the Towing Company.
Verify the towing and storage charges.
Name of the Towing Company: _________________________________________________________________
Name of the Crane operator: ___________________________________________________________________
Find out where the car is to be stored: _________________________