Monday, March 3, 2014

Know What to Do After a Car Accident

Hundreds of car accidents occur in Las Vegas every year, and thousands more throughout the country. However, many drivers do not know what they should do after being involved in a collision. To make sure you are prepared, read our list of basic steps to take after a car accident:

Make sure everyone is okay.
Check on yourself for injuries, then check your passengers and the motorists in the other vehicles involved in the collision. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately.

Pull to the shoulder, turn on your hazard lights, and turn off your engine.
Moving your vehicle out of the path of oncoming traffic can help prevent further collisions. Turning on your lights can warn other motorists of your stopped vehicle.

Wait for help in a safe location if you are injured.
If you or a passenger is seriously injured, wait in a safe location for emergency responders to arrive. Do not try to move someone who appears to have a neck or back injury or who is unconscious.

Exchange information with the other driver.
Get the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance company, policy number, and vehicle identification number of the other motorist, and provide them with the same information. If the driver has a different name than that listed on the insurance, ask what their relationship is to the insurance policy holder and ask for that person’s the name, address, and phone number.

Don’t discuss the accident with the other driver.
Make sure the other motorists are okay and exchange information with them, but don’t discuss the collision further. The other driver’s insurance company could try to use anything you said after the accident against you to avoid paying out your claim.

Document the scene.
Use your camera to take multiple pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved. You may also want to take a video of the scene of the accident. Write down the make, year, color, and license plate number of any vehicle involved in the collision.

Talk to witnesses.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information so that they can verify your side of the story if the other driver tries to dispute what happened.

Call your insurance company immediately.
Explain to your agent what happened and ask what you need to do next. Your agent may also instruct you to file an accident report.

Keep track of accident expenses.
Hold on to any receipts or bills from doctor visits, prescriptions, and auto repair shops. Also keep track of the dates of your medical appointments and the doctor’s diagnosis of your injuries.

Consider hiring an attorney.
If your case is complicated or you have not been receiving proper attention and help from your insurance agent, hiring an attorney could be beneficial. Your attorney can protect you from being taken advantage of and help you seek maximum compensation for your injuries and property losses.

Don’t speak with the other driver’s insurance company.
If the other insurance company calls or emails you to discuss the accident, do not respond to them until you have spoken with your insurance agent or attorney. Your agent and attorney can advise you of what to say and who to speak with.

Don’t accept an offer automatically.
Insurance companies will often offer a low settlement early on, hoping that you will accept it without realizing your options.  Your agent and attorney can evaluate your losses to determine an appropriate settlement and then negotiate for the best offer.

Have you been involved in a car accident in Clark County, NV? De Castroverde Law Group’s team of Las Vegas injury attorneys can help you understand your rights and options, and assist you with filing a car accident claim. Contact our team or visit the Car Accident section on our website for more information!