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How to Prepare For an Auto Accident Claim

Car accidents are disorienting, terrifying events. After you get into an accident is not the time to give your first thought to what to do if you get in an accident. You want to have an advance plan. And, if you have been in an accident recently, you may find that some of this information still pertains to you. If you get into a car crash, you should try to do the following:

  • If the cars are drivable, pull them off to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights and put out cones or flares if you have them.
  • Check to see if anyone is injured and needs medical attention. Call for an ambulance for anyone who may be seriously injured. Apply first aid as needed (or ask a bystander to help). Remember that in your local area, 9-1-1 may go to a regional rather than local dispatcher. For the fastest assistance, have your local emergency number programmed into your phone.
  • Call the police, even if no one is hurt. A police report is a legal record of the scene and useful in court.
  • Gather information about the other party (name, driver’s license number, insurance carrier and policy number, license plate and registration).
  • Gather information about witnesses (name and phone number).
  • Take photographs of the scene and the cars involved.
  • Decline to sign any document not given to you by the police. Avoid making any verbal admission of guilt or offering an apology, even if you feel you were at fault.
  • Immediately call your insurance agent.

You should pack some basic provisions in your car that can be useful after an accident. If possible, have a set of cones and/or flares in your trunk, as well as a reflecting vest. Invest in a basic first aid kit to carry in your trunk. Keep pen and paper in your car for making notes, as well as your insurance agent’s business card. Keep a camera in the car for taking pictures of the scene. Most people can use their phone for pictures. Just make sure you can zoom in on details of the damage to the cars. Lastly, keep the number of your auto accident attorney at the ready to consult about your legal rights.

Categories: Auto Accidents
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Law Office of Michael & Michelle Mandel
1438 Market Street
San Francisco, California, 94102 USA
415.626.5400