What to do After a Phoenix Car Accident
After you have been involved in a Phoenix Car Accident, follow these steps to protect your case.
Close to 130,000 car accidents occur annually in Arizona.They are also the number one cause of injuries in the United States. Despite how common they are, car accidents are always stressful and unexpected. When you are involved in a Phoenix car accident, there are specific actions you should take to protect yourself both physically and financially. The sudden upheaval of a collision can make it difficult to think clearly about anything, but these steps are important. Becoming familiar with the critical steps to take after an accident can help you to get through it as calmly and confidently as possible while protecting a potential personal injury claim.Make Sure Everyone is Safe
Check yourself and your passengers to see if anyone has injuries. While visible signs of injury such as bleeding and unconsciousness are the most obvious, there are many other injuries that may not be visible.
Ask your passengers how they are feeling to assess the situation. If they appear to be confused, it could be a sign of a head injury. If you think anyone has a neck or back injury, do not move them unless you absolutely have to.
Call 911 to report the accident and request medical attention. Let them know you have been in an accident and tell them that there may be injuries.
Observe your surroundings. If you’re able to, move your vehicle out of traffic and out of harm’s way. In some circumstances, you may have to leave your vehicle behind and get to safety off the road.
The shoulder of the road is a much safer alternative to the busy lanes themselves, but there is still potential for another accident. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights to alert active drivers passing by.
It is almost always safer to relocate yourself and passengers away from the immediate spot of the accident. However, if you have good reason to believe an accident victim has sustained a serious neck or back injury or spinal cord injury, stay with them and have some redirect traffic until emergency services get there.Gather Evidence
If you are able to, it is time to gather evidence. If you are unable to because you are injured, try to have someone else do it for you.
Take pictures of your vehicle from different angles that show the damage that your car has sustained. This will be important later.
Also, take pictures of the other vehicle involved in the accident so that you have a complete record. This can protect you in the event that the other party claims you caused damages that were not your fault. When you take the other car’s pictures, make sure there is a picture of the license plate of the other car.
It is also helpful to take pictures or video of the area where your accident happened. This includes highway signs, weather conditions, intersections, medians, and any other thing that may help you attorney to understand what happened and may help to prove your case.
Finally, get photos of any visible injuries that you have. Take photos of your injuries immediately after and as they progress over the next few days and weeks. Of course, some injuries cannot be documented with photos, but there are other ways to keep records that we will discuss later.Gather Relevant Information from the Scene
Get the registration information of the other driver involved as well as the information on his or her driver’s license including name and address. Upon request, Arizona drivers are required to share this information after an accident.
Once the police office is done at the accident site, request a copy of the police report. Sometimes an officer will complete the report at the scene and can hand you a copy of the report. In other situations, the officer may ask you to reach out in a couple of days if it isn’t immediately available.
The importance of the police report cannot be overemphasized; it can help to show which party was at-fault.
You're not done yet. Now you need to gather info from witnesses.Gather Witnesses Information
Write down the name and contact information of witnesses who are willing to help. Talk to them to try and get their account of the accident while it is fresh in their minds. In-depth written notes or voluntary audio recordings of witness statements may be viewed as neutral compared to the accounts of the parties who were directly involved.
Be sure to get their name, phone number, and email address if possible.Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t appear to be seriously injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible as a precaution. A trained medical professional may notice subtle signs of injury that you may not realize right away.
Many injuries take time to surface. It’s common for accident victims to start feeling aches and pains the following day once the adrenaline and shock wears off.
It’s important not only to receive treatment, but to get your injuries documented by a medical professional. This will help you prove that they were the result of the car accident rather than another incident.Start Keeping Records
Almost as soon as you are involved in an accident, you should begin to keep records of everything.
This includes documents from the police and hospital, witness statements, and any other documents you receive. It is best to start a folder to organize all this information.
As we mentioned before, you may not be able to take photos of injuries, but you can record your symptoms and pain on paper. Keep track of this and any changes.
You should also record the time and dates of any conversations you have, including phone calls. And of course, keep and organize all texts and email communications.
All of these things will be important to help you seek compensation for your damages from the car accident.Contact a Phoenix Personal Injury Attorney
While overcoming the physical injuries and emotional tolls of a car accident, most injured victims have little energy left to manage the legal aspects as well. Insurance companies can take advantage of this to get you to settle for less than you deserve.
At Abels & Annes, our experienced attorneys will conscientiously oversee your case so that you can focus on recovering while we worry about the insurance companies. We carefully evaluate each case from all angles and always strive for maximum compensation.Contact Your Insurance Company
Most insurance companies have a cooperation clause that requires you to report an accident in a timely manner. It is highly recommended that you let your lawyer contact any auto insurance carriers on your behalf. This is because mistakes often get made and any statements can be used against you at a later date.
If you do contact an insurance on your own, during the phone call, your insurance company will gather the information that you collected at the scene of the accident including the other driver’s information.
It is important to be truthful, but you should not make statements that could make you appear to be at-fault. Speaking to a personal injury attorney can help you to avoid this kind of pitfall.
For a free consultation, contact Abels & Annes online or by phone at (602) 819-5191.
You may also be interested in: Timeline of a Personal Injury Case