Use This Checklist After Car Accidents in Alabama

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29, 2016.

In the aftermath of an accident, people involved may feel disoriented, confused, and/or numb. Print out a copy of this checklist and keep it in your glove box. Use it to help others and protect your right to compensation in the following days.

  • Take a moment before leaving your vehicle. Don’t try to move right after the event. Take a few deep breaths and assess the situation. If you are severely injured, do not attempt to move. Wait until help arrives. If you can move, look at your car’s position. If possible, move away from oncoming traffic, but stay as close to the accident site as possible. Remember, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense.
  • See if anyone needs help. If you can safely do so, ask others involved in the accident if they need help. Try to make injured individuals comfortable (if they accept your help), and administer first aid until help arrives. Do not attempt to move anyone except in dire emergencies. You could exacerbate an existing injury.
  • Locate your mobile phone. Your phone will serve as a lifeline and an accident recorder. Use it to contact 911 if you or others suffered injuries in the incident. Take pictures or record video of the scene including the accident, weather conditions, injuries, and vehicle damage. If you installed a dash cam, remove the device before a tow truck arrives. Back up the recording and all photographic evidence as soon as possible.
  • Prepare for questions. Regardless of fault, drivers need to protect themselves from legal action and/or their rights to compensation. Do not admit to fault. Provide emergency responders, law enforcement officials, and insurance representatives with the facts. Use these tips for interacting with those at the scene:
    • Do not say you’re sorry
    • Do not yell at at-fault drivers
    • Do stick to the facts
    • Do tell people you’re “not sure” if you cannot clearly remember what happened
    • Do not give your opinion
  • Gather information. Write down relevant information you gather at the scene. Collect names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, and license plate numbers from other drivers involved. Ask for the names and contact information of witnesses. Ask for the names and any professional identification information of responding officers and emergency professionals. Keep the accident report number handy so you can access it later. Accidents reports can take weeks to process.
  • Seek medical assistance. Visit the doctor after an accident and inform him or her of the accident. If you begin to exhibit symptoms at a later date, a strong medical record may protect your ability to secure compensation. Some head and muscle injuries may take days or weeks to appear.

In the Days Following an Accident

After you leave the scene of the accident, document every accident interaction. Write down your experience of the incident as soon as possible, and report the accident to your insurance company within the first few days. Some policies set limits on reporting time frames. Follow the instructions in your policy. Create a file and save all receipts associated with the accident including medical, transportation, and vehicle repair costs. You may secure compensation to cover most or all of your out-of-pocket expenses.

Avoid posting anything about the accident online. The courts may admit anything you post publicly (and sometimes what you post privately) into evidence. Insurance adjustors sometimes use digital information as evidence during the claims process.

If you were not at fault for the accident and you suffered a serious or interruptive injury, consider contacting a Birmingham personal injury attorney at your earliest convenience. Whether you’re negotiating with insurance providers or trying to hold the at-fault driver accountable through a lawsuit, a car accident attorney can guide you through the process.