Watch This Video on Steps to Follow Immediately After a Car Accident.
What to Do After Your Car Accident
After you have been in a car accident, there are certain things you should do to comply with Arizona state law and to ensure your rights as an injured victim are protected. Here are some of the things you should do after your car accident:
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Immediately stop your vehicle.
When there has been a traffic accident in Arizona, involved drivers are required by law to stop their vehicles at the scene. It does not matter how large or small your accident. You must exchange your personal information with the other driver and owners of any property damaged in your accident. Try not to move your vehicle, unless it is a danger for traffic. If the accident is very minor, such as a “fender bender,” you can pull involved vehicles off the road to exchange information.
Aid injured parties first.
It is most important that you provide first aid or other assistance to injured parties in your accident. Until emergency workers arrive, you should do all you can to keep these injured victims comfortable and safe from additional injury. Do not move them unless you are a trained medical professional who knows how to properly stabilize and move someone who is injured. Call 911 to ensure emergency personnel come to the scene or for additional help in taking care of victims.
Secure the accident scene.
If the accident is serious, it is always best to leave every vehicle and all road debris exactly as it was at the time of the accident. Do not move your vehicle until law enforcement or other emergency personnel tell you to do so. Use common sense about these rules, as you may have to make a decision to move a vehicle if it is a danger to others.
Call the police.
As previously mentioned, you need to call 911 for help for injured victims. But you will also need a police officer to complete an accident report, a critical piece of evidence you will need for your claim. Even for minor accidents, you should always notify the police. If there is less than $500 in damage on each vehicle, the law enforcement officers may tell you that they will not come to the scene due to other priorities. But do not assume this will be the case and make a phone call to police for every type of car accident.
Sign the ticket.
If a police officer is issuing you a ticket on the scene, you need to accept it and sign it as he or she requests. You are not signing as “guilty.” You are simply signing to acknowledge that you are receiving the citation and will show up in court. Your Cantor Injury Lawyer will help you with this matter when you gain representation for your car accident case.
Gain the identity of the other drivers.
To pursue compensation for your damages, you need to know who you were in an accident with, the other drivers. Write down their contact info, address, phone number and insurance information. Also take down the vehicle’s license plate number, and a description of any passengers in these vehicles. Also gain contact information for any witnesses.
Write down other information about your accident.
You should also take good notes about what you think caused the accident, detailed descriptions of how it occurred, time, location, weather conditions and road conditions. You need to take notes about your own driving before the accident, too. Draw simple diagrams of the accident scene, how each vehicle came into the accident and what happened before, during and after the collision. Only provide this information to your Arizona accident lawyer.
Do not make any statements.
While you are at the accident scene you are required by state law to exchange your personal contact information, driver’s license number, vehicle registration and insurance card copy with other drivers. Besides this information, do not talk about the accident.
- DO NOT make any other statements, as they can be used against you
- DO NOT apologize for anything
- DO NOT admit any aspect of the accident was your fault in any way
- DO NOT say you “simply did not see the other car”
- DO NOT say ANYTHING you are not 100% certain about
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Remember that anything you say can incriminate you. Beyond what you are required by law to provide in the information exchange with other drivers, it is best to say nothing.
Pay attention to what others say and your surroundings.
While on the scene of the accident, do what you can to pay close attention to what others say about their involvement in the accident. If you hear anyone apologizing or saying, “It is my fault,” write it down immediately. You can use your cell phone to record audio or video at your accident scene, so doing this may help your case.
Go to the hospital emergency room or your doctor immediately.
After any car accident, you should always go immediately to a doctor or the emergency room. This is because many injuries do not cause immediate discomfort or pain. You may not think you have been injured, but then can experience immense pain over coming days or weeks. Adrenaline and stress actually mask pain, as they are designed to help us survive in a crisis. When your stress and adrenaline ease, it is then that you will feel the first effects of your accident.
Only a medical professional can accurately diagnose a serious problem or absence of injuries after a car accident. If you have been in any prior accidents, you should also let the doctor know this. These old injuries could have been exacerbated in the accident.
Call Cantor Injury Lawyers.
Call Cantor Injury Lawyers at 602.254.2701 for immediate assistance you need after your accident. By talking to the Cantor Team, we can remind you of what you need to do immediately following your accident and over the coming days. We can provide you with a free, no-obligation case consultation about your car accident to give you an idea of your rights, how to protect yourself, and possible compensation for your damages.
Call your insurance company.
Even when you are not at fault in your car accident, you need to contact your insurance company and inform them of what happened. But, do not give them a recorded statement or anything in writing until you have spoken with Cantor Injury Lawyers. Your attorney will guide you through what you should and should not provide to the insurance company.
Never provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance adjustor!
About one to two days after your car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will start contacting you. They do this so quickly because they are trying to gain your signature on a low settlement before you have a lawyer who can tell you what you are really owed. They know if you are unprotected by a lawyer, you are vulnerable to the tactics they use to gain control over your case and compensation. Once you are represented by the Cantor Team, your lawyer will communicate with the insurance company for you and that pressure will be off your shoulders.
Take pictures of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles.
While you are at the accident scene, you should take hundreds of photos of the scene itself and involved vehicles. You should take pictures from every possible angle, both close and far from the objects you are photographing. Be sure to snap photos of any parts that fell from your vehicle or others. If your vehicle is towed before you can get photographs, Cantor Injury Lawyers may be able to go to the impound lot for the pictures we need. It is just important to remember that you can never take too many photos.
Take photos or video of your injuries.
Take photos of your accident injuries, too. You should get pictures of all cuts, scrapes, bruises, bandages, stitches, casts, seat belt marks or other marks on your body. If you are in the hospital, ask someone you trust to photograph you and the equipment you are connected to, such as IVs or heart monitors. Of course, a Cantor Injury attorney can come to you to photograph your injuries.
Start a daily journal.
Keep a journal of your injuries and other effects of the accident, including how you are recovering, nightmares you have, pain, PTSD or other issues. You will need this record of your pain and suffering to share with your attorney. You should also keep track of all of your medical appointments and time missed from work, school and other activities.
Create a daily record of all your pain and inconveniences you suffer due to the accident. Take notes of everything, multiple times a day, including your thoughts. Share this information with your Cantor Injury Lawyer and try to keep it to yourself to be safe. Keep records of time you have had to miss from work, school, and appointments.