What to Do Before Leaving a Car Accident Scene

Being involved in a car accident is a highly stressful experience. However, if you can keep your wits about you during the difficult minutes, hours, and days after a crash, there are many steps you can take that will greatly improve your odds of filing a successful insurance claim or lawsuit in relation to the incident, getting the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

In this blog post, we detail the most important of these measures and explain how they can benefit you.

What’s Important About the Accident Scene?

In order to get the compensation you need following a serious road accident, you’ll have to gather evidence. A lot of the most valuable evidence in road accident cases is to be found at the crash scene.

The police will document a lot of this evidence if they compile an incident report, but you can play an important role here, too, as we’ll outline.

The Steps You Need to Take

Call the Police

You should call the police to come to the scene of anything more than a minor accident. A police report is often essential for insurance claims and legal purposes. The officers will document the scene, gather information from all parties involved, and provide an official record of the incident. This report can be highly valuable if disputes arise later regarding fault or damages.

Move the Vehicles, If Necessary

Do the vehicles need to be moved? If they are causing a hazard or obstructing traffic, you should move them to a safer location if possible. Of course, your safety is the most important consideration here; if there’s any possibility that you might sustain further injury by moving the vehicles, don’t do so. If you do decide to move the cars, take pictures of their positions first.

If the vehicles are not in a dangerous spot, leave them as they are until the police arrive. The less you interfere with the accident scene, the more valuable the evidence from it will be.

Take Pictures of the Scene

Photographic and video evidence is crucial. Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of the vehicles, any visible damage to road signs or other fixtures, any skid marks or debris, and anything at all in the surrounding area that might potentially be useful. Capture different angles and distances to provide a comprehensive view of the scene.

Identify the Drivers

Exchange information with all drivers involved in the accident. Obtain names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance details. This exchange of information is necessary for reporting the accident to your insurance company and for any potential legal actions. You’re also legally required to provide this information after you’ve been in a collision; otherwise, you may be guilty of a hit-and-run offense, even if you weren’t at fault for the accident.

Identify Witnesses

If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information as well. Witnesses can provide unbiased accounts of the incident, which can be crucial in disputes over what happened. Ask for their names, phone numbers, and, if they are willing, a brief statement about what they saw. You should also ask them to stay around long enough to provide a statement to the police about what happened.

Get Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine, it’s important to seek medical attention after an accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, whether because of adrenaline masking the pain related to an issue or for another reason. In any case, early intervention is always crucial if you want to make the best possible recovery following an accident.

Aside from your health, a timely checkup is also important for the purposes of any insurance claim or lawsuit you end up filing later on. The medical record from the visit will serve as crucial evidence. Plus, if you fail to visit a doctor and you try to file a claim related to injuries that arise later on, the defendant insurance company may try to use the fact that you didn’t get checked right away against you.

Dealing With Insurance Companies After a Car Accident

New York is a no-fault state, so, if the damages from your accident don’t surpass the limits of your no-fault policy, you should be able to get the compensation you need from your own insurer. This can make things a lot easier for you, as it means you won’t need to get bogged down in proving another party to the accident was at fault for it.

However, it’s important to remember that insurance companies are not your friends, not even your own coverage provider. As for-profit businesses, they’ll do whatever they can to keep their balance sheets strong, including denying valid claims.

For this reason, you must exercise extreme caution when interacting with insurance companies during the post-accident process. We’ve worked with dozens of clients who should have had straightforward cases, but had their claims devalued or denied outright because of unnecessary interactions with insurance agents.

If you hire our firm, we’ll take care of all insurance company correspondence on your behalf. That’s why we recommend establishing a relationship with a car or truck accident lawyer as soon as possible after you’ve been in a collision.

If you don’t have a lawyer and an insurance agent contacts you, be as brief and direct as possible in your interactions with them. Avoid getting into detailed discussions about your accident (or who may have been to blame for it) at all costs. Remember, your insurer will be looking for any detail it can possibly use to devalue your claim, so don’t give the company any ammo in this regard.

Hire a Law Firm Who Will Help You Throughout the Entire Process

Car accidents are always highly stressful. However, there’s no reason for you to suffer financial loss as well as physical and emotional pain, especially if the accident wasn’t your fault. By taking the right steps in the wake of a collision, you can give yourself the best possible chance of recovering the compensation you need to get your life back on track.

Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation about your case. You can reach us via our online contact form or over the phone at (516) 399-2364.

john tucker

Managing Attorney John. J. Tucker, Esq.

John has personally handled thousands of clients who were victims of another’s negligence and fights relentlessly for their rights. John enjoys bringing closure to a client’s matter so that the injured party can move forward with their life. His background enables him to evaluate complex liability related claims and bring resolution to claims in a record time frame. [ Attorney Bio ]

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