You’re minding the rules of the road, and all of a sudden you get rear-ended. The first things that come to mind may be, “I don’t have time for this,” “I hope there’s not a huge dent,” and “I’m going to give this irresponsible driver a piece of my mind.”
While there’s never a good time to have a car accident, if you keep our tips in mind, you’ll have a better chance of achieving a favorable outcome.
Regardless of the circumstances of the accident, there are basic guidelines to follow to protect your rights and ensure that you receive just compensation for injuries.
Recommendations for Arizona Drivers
While you don’t want to leave the scene of the accident, you do need to get your vehicle off the roadway right away. Also make sure you and the other parties are out of the way of further harm.
From there, check to see that everyone is okay, and if someone is hurt, contact an ambulance. Resist the instinct to move people who have sustained an injury unless they are in immediate danger in their current position.
It’s natural to feel angry that an irresponsible driver caused you harm, harm to your passengers, and damage to your vehicle. However, losing your temper at the scene of the accident is counterproductive, and it can escalate into a violent (or at least unpleasant) scenario.
By maintaining a cordial and respectful tone, you’ll encourage cooperation from the other party and avoid unnecessary conflict.
Get Contact Information
Once you’ve established that everyone is okay, and an ambulance called, get the other driver’s contact information. Ask for their driver’s license and write down (or take a picture with your phone) their name, phone number, and address. Also obtain their insurance card and write down the name, address and telephone number of the insurance company and the policy number. Ask for an email address to have another point of contact.
If there were any witnesses, they might have stopped to check to see if everyone is okay. Ask the witnesses for their information, and take notes or record their account of the accident to use as evidence.
Take photographs and/or video evidence of the damage. Thoroughly inspect the car and record any damage. Take pictures of the other driver’s car, especially the license plate.
To sum up, here’s the information you need:
– The other driver’s name, address, phone number (and optionally, an email address)
– Details about the car (year, make, model, color)
– The other driver’s insurance carrier and policy number
– Contact information and statements from any witnesses
– Photos or videos of the scene, including the license plate of the driver
– Location of the accident
– If a police officer responded, document their name and badge number.
Call the Police
– There is an injury or fatality
– There is property damage over $1,000
– A police officer issues a citation
Police reports provide full details of an incident and can be used to determine fault. If your case escalates to a lawsuit, the report can also serve as leverage for a settlement.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Some drivers make the mistake of thinking they don’t need to contact their insurance company if the accident wasn’t their fault. However, regardless of who is at fault, both parties need to report the incident to their respective insurance providers.
Wait until you get home or somewhere away from the scene before reporting it. Be prepared to share the following:
– The date and time of the accident
– A statement of the details of the accident
– An assessment of damages (including property damage other than the vehicle)
– Any injuries
Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company because they do not have your best interests in mind.
Document as Much as Possible
As your case is investigated, keep a daily journal of observations about your health. Document any pain you feel that you didn’t experience before the accident. If you had passengers with you at the time of the incident, check in with them and write down anything they report.
The key is to remain calm after an accident and make sure everyone is okay. Then get help for anyone who is injured.
Car accidents can leave you feeling shaken and traumatized. It can be hard to stay composed during this time. But it is critical to obtain as much information as possible at the scene and immediately following the accident.
Having experienced and skillful legal representation ensures that you receive the compensation you deserve.
To discuss the specifics of your case, contact our Phoenix, Arizona, car accident attorneys for a consultation.