It happens in a second, often without warning. It can be a short term inconvenience or a life altering event. Most of us have been involved in some sort of automobile accident in our life. Even if you are the most careful driver operating a vehicle with a high safety rating, you cannot avoid every accident. So once you have been involved in an accident, what steps can you take to prevent further danger to yourself, the other driver or anyone else involved in the accident? First, do not stand in the street and make sure you render aid to any injured persons. Do not leave the scene of the accident, even if it doesn’t seem serious. You could be charged with “Leaving the Scene of an Accident”, which can be a misdemeanor or a felony crime , depending on whether the other party claims injuries as a result of the accident and your state’s laws. It is also important that you document the accident completely. This includes exchanging insurance information and reporting the accident to law enforcement. You will also want to take photographs if it is safe to do so without standing where you could be hit by passing traffic. Photographs can be taken by a digital camera or even a camera phone.
Exchanging insurance information is an important part of documenting the accident. Make sure you confirm the information the other driver gives you by viewing their driver’s license and insurance card. Be sure to exchange name, address, phone number, insurance company, insurance policy and make, model and color of the vehicles involved in the accident. Reporting the accident to law enforcement will also help both drivers confirm the information is accurate and any statements to the police regarding liability or potential injuries. If you are injured in the accident, seek medical care as soon as possible and follow the recommendations of your treating physicians. Make sure you keep a good record of where you have treated and any bills or expenses related to the accident. Reporting the accident to law enforcement helps further document the occurrence of the accident. As many as one in seven drivers has no car insurance. This is why it is important to keep your insurance up to date. If an uninsured driver hits you, you may need to make a claim against your own insurance company. Do not forget to file your driver accident report, which must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten (10) days of your accident in the State of Nebraska. Make sure you are detailed and note what street you were on, which direction you were traveling and the details of how the accident happened. You will also want to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
Not everyone is calm and collected at the scene of an accident, but remember to handle yourself appropriately. Always ask if the other driver is okay and never admit fault. Be polite and courteous, but do not offer more information than your name and basic insurance information. Remember that comments made at the scene of an accident can be held against you later. You may also want to consult with an attorney to determine whether or not you have a claim against the other driver for your injuries and to ensure you get a fair and timely property settlement from the insurance company. Remember that insurance claims take time to resolve so keep in touch with the insurance company while your vehicle is being repaired in order to ensure that your vehicle is repaired properly and you do not end up owing extra money in car rental fees. Properly documenting an accident can ensure a smoother insurance claims process and reduce your stress as you prepare to find a new vehicle and get back on the road again.
A partner with Inserra & Kelley, Attorneys At Law since 1993, Craig Kelley focuses on personal injury law with a large emphasis on motorcycle and bicycle related cases and claims with the goal of first helping clients heal and then getting speedy resolution of their disputes.