After the collision, you should call 911 and report the accident especially if there are injuries involved. The police officer will be able to write a report identifying the parties and document how the accident happened. Sometimes, after an accident, the other driver may try to change his story to his insurance company which may end up denying your claim.
When the police are on scene, the other driver has less time to think about it and is more likely to tell the truth. The officer can also note any physical evidence such as skid marks and debris on the roadway that may disappear later.
Exchange information with the Other Driver
It is important to get the name, address, and phone number of the other driver at the scene, especially the address because you will need this if your case does not settle and you have to file a lawsuit. You will need the address to serve the other person with papers. Sometimes the police will not come out because they're too busy or they think the accident was minor. In this case, you definitely need all the information...the more the better.
If there is any possibility of disputed liability, you should take photos of the vehicles at the scene showing the area of damage and location of vehicles after the collision (before moving to the shoulder of the highway or to a parking lot).
If you do not have a phone with a decent camera and flash, you can buy an inexpensive disposable camera and keep it in the glove box just in case.
Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses as well. They may be the deciding factor if liability is being disputed.
Follow Up With Medical Care if Injured
If you or anyone in the car was injured, you should follow up with a health care provider as soon as possible. First, you want to make sure you're okay and second you will need documentation of your injuries if you decide to pursue an injury claim against the other driver.
Report to Your Insurance Company
If you are injured and you have medical coverage, you will need to open up a PIP claim to pay for your medical bills. The other insurance company will not pay for your medical bills as they are incurred but will ultimately be responsible for any reasonable and related treatment and bills. Also, if there is a question of liability, your insurance company will want to investigate the claim and contact any witnesses.
Contact an Attorney
If there is any question of fault, if you have never been in an accident before, if you're not sure how to proceed with a claim for property damage or injuries, if you don't trust the insurance company, if you're not sure who will pay medical bills or wage loss, car rental, etc........then you should contact an attorney.
A good personal injury attorney will provide a free initial consultation and advise whether you will even need to hire an attorney.
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