The worst thing has just happened to you. You have had an accident. There's never a good time to have an accident but it always seems to happen at the worst possible time. So what do you do? First off you need to stay calm. It's a totally natural reaction to lose your head or panic right when you need to be rational. Just after the accident is the time you should be taking note of all the information you will need to ensure that you are fully compensated and covered for any damage done to your property or to you.
Talk to witnesses, get their contact details, make notes and take pictures if possible at the time of the accident. You'll be glad you did as it will be difficult to accurately recall all of the details as time passes. Finally remember not to admit that you caused the accident, even if you did. Right after the accident this will all be the last thing you think of, so make a checklist and keep it in the car.
While you are at the accident scene take a note of the following details: Driver Details of everyone involved in the accident. Don't forget to add yours too. These details should cover the Drivers Name, driving license details, and driver insurance details including the insurance company name, policy number, and contact details.
Finally remember to get the car license plate number. If you are carrying a camera take pictures of the accident scene, the damaged vehicles, and any injuries that were caused by the accident. Note the contact details of any witnesses such as name, address, phone number and email address so that you can follow up with them later. Post-Accident Follow Up: Complete your own fully detailed description of the accident as soon as possible after it occurred.
You can fill this in with the details and any pictures that you took at the scene of the accident. If you were injured then take pictures of your injuries. Follow up with the witnesses to the accident and get their written details of the accident. If the Police attended the scene of the accident ask for their report. After the Accident: If you were injured you will need to keep track of the following medical expenses and visits: Any hospital visits and treatments at hospitals such as MRI, x-ray, physiotherapy and laboratory services.
Over the counter and prescription medications. You should keep track of the dates, times and reasons you had to visit a doctor or the hospital, and keep a note of the time off of work due to the accident. If the time off caused a loss of income, you should get a letter detailing all of the lost income from your employer. Similarly if you are still in school you should keep track of all of the hours of missed schooling due to the accident.
While you are undertaking medical treatment you should take pictures of your injuries to show their progress over time. Keep a log of the date and time of the picture and add details of any pain that you are experiencing, how you are feeling, and any distress or discomfort that you experience as a result of the accident. Keep track of all other expenses related to the accident. These will incluse some of the following: Property damages such as car repairs, damage to barriers, fences and signs.
Some other indirect expenses may also occur such as a cancelled vacation due to injuries sustained in the accident or the cost of a rental car while yours is repaired. Finally there are other miscellaneous costs, such as ointments,lotions to treat your injuries, and bandages. Never reply to any questions or queries from any other party involved in or related to the accident, such as insurance companies or attorneys without first consulting your attorney. Do not settle any bills or sign any documents until you are sure of the extent of current and future medical expenses related to the accident, and have agreed on it with your attorney.
Steve Dolan has been involved in several accidents and learned "The Hard Way". Click on Accidents and Injuries to find all the resources you need in the event of an accident.