At our Phoenix personal injury law firm, we help car accident victims obtain a fair amount of compensation from third party insurance companies. We find that often evidence is lost because clients do not know what to do immediately after a car accident. Some auto insurance companies give their insured checklists to keep in their glove compartments. If you do not have a checklist, we have provided one below for minor car accidents.
Identify the other car. If you have time, photograph the license plate, especially if the other driver is trying to drive away. If not repeat the license number repeatedly until you are able to write it down. Try to identify the make and model of the other car. Always have paper and writing implements in the glove compartment.
Ask if anyone is hurt. Determine if you are hurt.
Exchange information with the other driver. The following information should be exchanged:
- Names, addresses, telephone numbers ·
- Driver's license numbers ·
- Vehicle registration numbers ·
- Vehicles' year, make, model and color ·
- Automobile insurance information (name, address, phone number and policy number)
Do not discuss liability for the car accident, and do not allow yourself to be drawn into any discussion of liability.
Make a police report. Even if it is a minor accident, a police report will aid the insurance companies in deciding fault, amount of damage and extent of injury.
Take photographs of the accident scene, damage to both cars and any visible injuries.
Go to the hospital, urgent care or doctor to be checked out. Often you are not aware of pain until the next day. Even if you feel that you are not seriously injured, document that you are in pain by going to the emergency department. In part, damages are based on the amount you have spent on medical care. Take good care of yourself.
Attempt to obtain contact information from witnesses.
Avoid giving a recorded interview with the third party insurance company (the other guy's company).
Hopefully, you will never be involved in a car accident, but if you are, do not hesitate to document as much as possible to aid your personal injury lawyer in obtaining a fair settlement for you.
Jay Ciulla is a Phoenix personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.