WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT?
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following steps may help guide you through important decisions you need to make if you’ve been in a car accident, whether you were at fault for the accident or not.
STEP 1: CHECK YOURSELF FOR INJURIES.
- If you’re injured, call 911 or ask someone else to do so.
- If you’re seriously injured, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel.
STEP 2: CHECK ON THE WELL-BEING OF YOUR PASSENGERS.
- If you’re not too hurt to move, check on the other passengers in your car.
- If anyone’s injured, get on the phone with emergency services or ask a bystander to call for help.
STEP 3: GET TO SAFETY.
- If you’re able to, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk.
- If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.
STEP 4: CALL 911.
- Whether an accident is considered a minor fender bender or a major collision, calling the police is important — and in some states, legally required.
- The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene.
- When you file a claim with your insurer, they may ask for a copy of the police report to help with the claims process.
STEP 5: WAIT FOR HELP.
- Turn off your engine and turn on your hazard lights to warn other vehicles to slow down.
STEP 6: EXCHANGE INFORMATION.
- After making sure you and any passengers are uninjured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver.
The most important information drivers should exchange after an accident are:
- Full name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, color and model of vehicle
- Location of accident
When exchanging information with other drivers avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver.
Once you file an insurance claim, the insurance adjuster/s will determine who’s at fault based on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photographs from the scene.
STEP 7: DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT.
In order to help protect yourself, take the following steps:
- Identify the officers.
Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
- Get a copy.
Ask the police officers how and where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
- Take pictures.
Document the accident thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. It might also be a good idea to take pictures of the other car’s license plate.
- Take down names.
Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, make sure to include any passengers in the other vehicle.
- Talk to witnesses.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.
STEP 8: NOTIFY YOUR INSURER AND START THE CLAIMS PROCESS.
You may want to call your insurance agent while you’re at the scene… or as soon as you can.
Believe it or not… an accident can leave even the most seasoned driver frazzled but following these steps may help protect you from unnecessary worries.
GENERAL FACTS REGARDING
These accidents are typically referred to as “Wheels” Cases. Why… because Motor Vehicle Accidents typically involve wheeled vehicles i.e. cars, 18 wheelers, motorcycles, go carts, and even boats. These personal injury claims typically stem from another motorist’s negligent and/or wanton conduct. Whatever the cause… these accidents more times than not come with some sort of lifelong impact requiring long-term medical care and treatment.
After a motor vehicle accident, you may find yourself needing to file a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for:
- Injuries sustained in the wreck;
- Medical bills that stem from the wreck;
- Future medical expenses.
- Lost wages; as well as
- Compensation for the physical pain and suffering.
TIME LIMITS FOR FILING A LAWSUIT IN ALABAMA
Alabama has a law called a “statute of limitations” which sets a lime limit for filing different kinds of lawsuits.
For personal injury cases, the time limit in Alabama is two years, meaning you must file a lawsuit against any potential defendant within two years of the date of your accident. (See Ala. Code. Sec. 6-2-38.)
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