Here’s the conclusion of our two-part series on what to do and what to not do after you’re in a car accident in Salem, Oregon, or anywhere in America. In the first post we left off on tip number four:
5) Take photographs. Be sure to capture photographs of any skid marks and get close-up shots of any visible property damage. If you have injuries, photograph those as well. Having photographic documentation of your accident may strengthen any future insurance claims.
6) Report the accident to your insurance company. You should call your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation.
7) Seek medical attention. Unless you are absolutely certain that you have not been not injured, you should be examined at the nearest emergency room or by your family doctor. This is especially important given that serious injuries do not always result in immediate pain and may develop over time.
8) Use caution when speaking to others about your accident. This begins the moment after the accident happens. Do not apologize for anything at the scene. Do not admit fault. The only people with whom you should discuss your accident are the police, your insurance company and your attorney.
9) Protect your rights! Perhaps the most important thing you can do after an accident is to contact a personal injury attorney. The events after a car accident are often chaotic and stressful. Do not attempt to negotiate or settle anything by yourself. Dealing with insurance companies, healthcare providers and the legal system can be a very technical process, so it’s always best to let your lawyer handle those details.
It is not uncommon for representatives from an insurance company other than your own to contact you. If this should happen, do not give any information and ask that the insurance representative contact your attorney or insurance company. Be sure to get their name and notify your insurance company and attorney that someone seeking information about your accident has contacted you.
Insurance companies may also try to send you documents. Share those documents with your attorney before you sign anything. Sometimes these documents may contain payments or offers to settle. These offers may be tempting if you are struggling with financial problems as a result of your accident. Trust your attorney. If done right, a personal injury attorney will see that you are fairly compensated for loss of income, pain and suffering, medical expenses and property damage.