If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s essential to document damages accordingly. Not only will you need this information to file an insurance claim – but it can also help protect you when legal action is initiated – either from others impacted or by you.
In this post, we’ll discuss the best way to document damages after a car accident.
5 Things to do After a Car Accident
The minutes following a car accident are traumatic. You’re shaken and trying to make sense of what just happened. You may be injured and afraid. Your car may be totaled. No matter what, the key is to stay calm.
Follow these steps after an auto accident:
1. Focus on safety
Evaluate yourself and your passengers for injury. If anyone is hurt, call 911. Next, get your car and yourself to a safe location. If the position of your car is causing a road hazard, pull it to the side of the road. Put the car in park and turn on your hazard lights. Be vigilant about the accident scene, and adjust your position accordingly. It’s critical to keep yourself and other people on the scene safe until the police arrive.
2. Call the police
Next, call the police. Even if an accident seems minor, a police accident report is necessary for insurance purposes. Plus, many states require people who have been in an accident to call the police. Once you’ve called the police, wait at the scene for them to arrive – even if the accident took place at night. You may also need to call a tow truck if your car is unfit to drive.
3. Document damages
Once you’ve called for help, take a moment to document damages. Here are a few tips:
- Using your smartphone camera, take plenty of photos.
- Take photos from several distances – both close-up and far away.
- Photograph the surrounding areas.
- Photograph the other car’s license plates.
- Capture images of the damage from a variety of angles.
- Take photos of the other parties involved, injuries, and damages to all vehicles.
- Focus on detailed photos – close-up shots are very helpful.
While it may feel odd to take photos of the accident scene, this is an important step. Remember that you are not only protecting yourself but the other people involved in the accident, as well.
4. Exchange information
After documenting the scene, exchange information with the other people present. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, including:
- Full name and address.
- Driver’s license and plate numbers
- Insurance information, including policy number and effective dates.
- The make, model, and color of your vehicle.
- The location and time of the accident.
- The names and contact information of any witnesses, bystanders, or passengers.
If it’s easier, take photos of the other driver’s license, car, and personal information. This guarantees you’ll have all the information you need.
5. Seek ongoing medical attention
Sometimes, injuries incurred in an accident can take days or weeks to appear. Things like whiplash and hairline neck or spinal fractures are a great example. To protect your health, visit a doctor immediately after your accident – even if you believe you are unhurt and were practicing defensive driving. The doctor may find hidden medical issues that require immediate – and ongoing – treatment.
If your doctor uncovers any hidden medical issues, be sure to follow all treatment plans accordingly. Of course, document all treatments and keep copies of your medical records.
What to do After You’ve Documented the Accident
After the police have arrived and you’ve documented damages, you’ll need to file an insurance claim. The first step is to call your insurance company.
Do this as soon as you get home from the accident scene. The claims representative at your insurance company will ask questions about the accident and help you navigate the claims process.
If you have collision insurance, file a claim to pay for the repair on your vehicle. You’ll need to pay your deductible. If the other driver caused the accident, file a claim against their liability insurance policy for property damage and injuries.
If filing a claim on your own seems intimidating, hire an attorney. Accident lawyers have ample experience working with insurance companies. A good attorney can help you navigate the process and avoid time-consuming bottlenecks.
Why you Need an Attorney
If you’ve been in an auto accident or motorcycle accident, you need a personal injury attorney. A skilled injury attorney protects your best interests and streamlines the claims process. Here are a few reasons to hire a lawyer after your Pensacola accident:
- A professional, objective point of view. Accidents are emotional. Unfortunately, you can’t afford to view your case through an emotional lens. A good personal injury attorney will bring an objective and professional vision to your case. This helps you get the claim you deserve.
- Stronger negotiation. The average person struggles to negotiate with insurance companies. Fortunately, attorneys do not. Personal injury lawyers work with insurance representatives daily and are persuasive when it comes to bargaining for payment and settlements.
- More comprehensive legal coverage. If your case goes to court, your attorney will represent you. This is critical in car accident cases, which can be complex and time-consuming.
- Faster compensation. You need your settlement to pay medical bills and replace lost income. An attorney can help you secure that compensation more quickly.
- Peace of mind. When you work with a personal injury lawyer, you’ll enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing your bases are covered. A good attorney will check every box, and help your case avoid preventable bottlenecks.
Ward & Barnes: Trusted Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyers
We work with car accident victims daily, and we know how important it is to document damages after an accident. In addition to streamlining the claims process, documenting damages protects your rights and best interests. If you need a team of professionals to help you navigate the claims process, contact us today. Our compassionate, assertive, and experienced team is here to protect your best interests, both now and in the future.