Being in a car accident in Phoenix can be devastating. In addition, the immediate injuries you might have, you’ll be dealing with the aftermath of an accident for months, or longer. In order to avoid problems that will make your situation worse, there are several things you should do immediately following a car accident.
Many car accidents in Phoenix result in only property damage. The situation can still be serious, but you should be thankful if you and everyone else involved in an accident escape with no injuries or only minor injuries. About a third of all car accidents involve personal injury, and sadly, about 20 percent involve fatal injuries. An accident without injuries can be a major inconvenience, but it’s something that could be your best case scenario.
What Should I Do After My Car Accident in Phoenix?
If you are seriously injured in a crash, you will have no choice how to proceed. Emergency medical responders will arrive on the scene and take over. Your number one goal is to allow people to help you and get the medical care you need. Your health and well-being and the health and well-being of others involved in the accident are the number one priority, and the other issues that follow can wait until everyone is safe.
Assuming you were not seriously injured in a car accident, you can do the following to ensure no further damage occurs and that the days and weeks following the accident are as stress-free as possible:
Remain on the Scene
First and foremost, stay on the scene. You should never drive away from an accident, even if it’s a minor one. Everyone involved needs to stop, evaluate the situation, and determine what to do next. Driving away from an accident – even one that involves no damage to property and no injuries – can turn a not-so-bad situation into something criminal. Don’t let fear get the worst of you, even if something you did cause the accident.
Protect and Preserve the Scene
Once everyone has stopped and assessed the medical needs of those involved in the crash, you can protect the scene. Protecting the scene allows you to accomplish two goals: it prevents further accidents from happening by alerting nearby drivers to the problem. Setting up flares and using your vehicle’s flashers will let others in the area know there is danger nearby and they need to proceed with caution.
Protecting the scene also ensures you’ll be able to gather information regarding the evidence. You’ll want to keep everything on the scene as preserved as possible, once you move people and vehicles out of danger. Take photos of the scene of the crash and make notes. You’ll be providing law enforcement with details regarding the accident, but it’s also a good idea to have information for your own records.
Contact Law Enforcement
Once the situation is secure, you should call the police. Even if nobody has been seriously injured, it’s still a good idea to contact law enforcement. Many insurance companies require you to submit a police report in order to file a claim. It’s also a good idea to have police on the scene because emotions tend to run high after an accident. You’ll want a complete and accurate account of what happened, so stories aren’t changed later once the accident is cleaned up.
When reporting the details of the accident to the police, make sure you share only the facts. Don’t speculate or guess about anything. If you aren’t sure, say “I don’t know.” There is no need to give an elaborately detailed account of the accident – simply state the facts as they occurred.
Exchange Contact & Insurance Information
Next, you’ll want to exchange information with others involved in the accident. Police officers on the scene will collect insurance information from everyone involved, but it’s a good idea also to make sure you have the insurance information and contact info from anyone else involved. You’ll want to get the name, address, and phone number of everyone involved – not just the drivers. It’s also a good idea to gather this contact information from anyone in the area who witnessed the accident.
You’ll need to report the accident as soon as possible to your vehicle insurance provider. If you’re able to do so safely and conveniently, while on the scene, do so. Many insurance companies require immediate reporting of any incident that occurs in order to receive the benefits to which you are entitled. During the conversation, find out if medical benefits are part of your coverage. You’ll need to use medical coverage provided by your vehicle insurance policy before other medical coverage kicks in, so it’s important you have all of the information you need as soon as possible.
Organize a file for the information you gather related to the accident. This helps you stay organized and avoids frustration in the days and weeks following the accident. An organized collection of information also makes it easier for your attorney to review your case.
You might assume it isn’t necessary to hire an attorney to help you following a car accident in Phoenix, but all too often people realize they’re victimized by insurance companies and others involved in the accident. An attorney can help you protect your rights and ensure you are treated fairly by others involved in the accident. Attorneys make sure all evidence is gathered and protected, and that insurance companies meet their obligations and treat you with respect.
The most important thing you can do following an accident is to seek the medical attention you need. Nothing is more important than your health. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, you should still see a trained medical professional. Sometimes things that are initially minor can develop into major health problems, and you need to think about your well-being before anything else.
Schedule a Consultation with a Phoenix Car Accident Attorney
Once your health has been tended to, you can begin the arduous process of filing accident reports and dealing with insurance companies. We’re here to help with the process and ensure things go as planned. For more information or to schedule a consultation to discuss car accidents in Phoenix, contact Warnock MacKinlay Law to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.