What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident

Most of us will be in a car accident at some point in our lives, either as a driver or passenger. In 2009, almost 72% of car accidents involved property damage only, 27.5% resulted in non-fatal injuries, and less than .6% of car crashes were fatal.1

If you are involved in a car accident, there are some standard things that you should do immediately after the accident.

  • Safety comes first: if you believe you are injured, remain in your car and call 9-1-1 or ask the first person who stops to help to call for an ambulance. If you are not injured, check on any others involved in the accident to see if they need assistance.
  • Call the police to report the accident. Tell the dispatcher if there are injuries.
  • Treat all emergency personnel with courtesy.
  • Do NOT leave the scene of the accident.
  • Do NOT admit fault or discuss the accident with bystanders or witnesses.
  • DO collect witness names and contact information and exchange insurance information with any others involved in the accident.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene.
  • If it is safe to move the cars from the road, do so.
  • Get the responding officer’s name and a case number. If your accident was in Huntsville, accident reports can be found online here. You need the case number, accident date and last name of the driver or vehicle owner to pull the report.
  • If your car is not drivable, remove all personal property before the tow truck arrives.

Once you are able to leave the accident scene, there are still some things you will need to do to handle the car accident:

  • Arrange for any follow-up medical care, if needed.
  • Contact your insurance company to report the accident. We strongly recommend that you read your policy carefully BEFORE the accident so you understand exactly what is covered.
  • If your policy has a rental car clause, they will tell you what you must do to obtain a rental vehicle.
  • Complete Alabama form SR-13 to report the accident to the State. This must be done within 30 days for all accidents where there were injuries or property damage in excess of $250. The form can be found here
  • While the accident is fresh in your mind, we recommend you write down the details of the accident, including a sketch of the scene and your thoughts. While you may never need this information, if you end up having to take legal action, these notes will help you refresh your memory.
  • Consider your online persona: it’s okay to tell your Facebook friends that you were in an accident, but consider what would happen if you were indeed at fault and you posted that online for the other driver’s insurance company to see. If it’s posted online or sent via email, it’s not confidential.

In many cases, you will not be thinking clearly after your car accident. Even if you are not injured, you may be rattled and not recall the steps you need to take. To help in this situation, Martinson & Beason has created this Accident Information Sheet for you to print and keep in your glove box. Following the steps listed here will help you deal with the accident and collect the necessary information to file your insurance claim. Click below to open and print a copy:

Click here to get a detailed Step-by-Step Guide to what to do if you are in an accident.

If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you may wish to talk to an attorney to learn your rights. To learn what you should ask a potential attorney, download our Special Report. While most injuries from car accidents are relatively minor and do not result in long-term damage, it is better to understand your rights under the law before you sign a release with the insurance company. Once you have signed that release, if additional injuries become apparent or if it becomes apparent that you will never return to 100% of your pre-accident condition, it’s too late to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages or pain and suffering.

Our Alabama car accident lawyers handle all automobile accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge you a fee until and unless we make a recovery for you.

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury contact our experienced and dedicated Huntsville Alabama car accident attorneys. The evaluation is free and confidential.

Email us or call us at (256) 533-1667.

 

1http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811402EE.pdf