According to ODOT, there were over 57,000 motor vehicle crashes reported in the state of Oregon in 2017. Because of the frequency of these auto collisions, knowing what to do after a car accident is imperative for anyone who drives. Paul Galm, an experienced car accident attorney in Portland, offers this what to do after a car accident checklist to help you protect yourself in the event of a crash, even it’s a minor one.
What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist Item #1: Call 911
If someone is injured in the car accident, your top priority should be getting them proper medical care. Even if no one appears to be injured, it’s important to pull over to safety, turn on your hazard lights, and call 911. While it’s not illegal to simply exchange insurance information and move on, by including a neutral third party and requesting a police report, you can prevent any potential problems.
What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist Item #2: Exchange Car Insurance Information
Speaking of insurance companies, be sure to exchange car insurance information with the other driver, even if there appears to be little or no damage. We recommend taking the name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, driver license number and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle involved in the car accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist Item #3: Exchange Information with Any Witnesses
If anyone witnessed the accident, you or the investigating officer should get their names and contact information in case they are needed to substantiate your claim. If possible, try to convince any witnesses to stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive so they can easily give a statement.
What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist Item #4: Take Pictures
Because many cell phones have camera capabilities, it’s easier than ever to take photographic documentation of the accident. If possible, it’s important to take photos of the scene of the accident and the damage to all cars involved. Not only does it clearly show the damage incurred, but it also offers insight into the conditions that might have contributed to the car accident, which could be helpful if the case goes to trial.
What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist Item # 5: Seek Medical Treatment if Needed
Even if you don’t seek immediate medical treatment, you may want to re-evaluate in the hours after the car accident. Many people feel OK directly after an auto accident but end up needing medical attention later. Even if you don’t need an ambulance, you should seek medical attention if you have even minor injuries. If you wait more than 72 hours after the accident, your car accident claim might not be accepted.
What to Do After a Car Accident Checklist Item #6: Contact Your Insurance Company
Be sure to report the accident to your insurance company and the insurance company of the other involved party. While the other party is likely to report the crash to their insurance company, if it isn’t reported, problems can arise that could prevent you from receiving your benefits.
If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, contact Paul Galm today for a free consultation. In the meantime, check out our legal blog, where we cover everything from what you need to know about lane splitting in Oregon to how to prevent distracted driving.