What Should I Do After I Have Been in an Auto Accident?

Being in a car accident can be a scary experience. In the immediate moments after a collision, it’s normal to simply “freeze up,” and kind of lose track of what you should and could be doing. Below is a list of a few Dos and Don’ts, so that you don’t panic after a crash. You can print this checklist out and keep it in your glovebox, if you like, so that you won’t miss any of the steps.

What to do:

  • Get to a safe distance from the accident, but don’t leave the scene.
    • If your car is drivable, put your hazards on and make your way to the curb.
    • If your car is not drivable, put your hazards on, check for traffic, and walk to the curb.
  • Call the police and report the accident.
  • Make sure that everybody else in the car is safe.
    • If you are not injured, check for traffic, get out of the car, and walk to the curb.
    • If you or someone else is injured, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Exchange contact information with the other driver if he or she is willing.
  • Take pictures of the cars, the road, any debris from the crash, and any physical injuries on your body, or on the bodies of your passengers.
  • If there are witnesses, ask if they would be willing to exchange information.
  • Contact your insurance company and report the accident.
    • Ask your insurance company if they provide towing or roadside assistance.
  • File an accident report.
  • Seek medical attention within 7 days, to document any injuries which were not immediately apparent.
    • Ask for a neuro-physical evaluation if you hurt your head.
  • Hire an attorney.
    • Send your photos and videos to the attorney so that they are timestamped.
    • Review your policy coverage with your attorney.

Generally speaking, under Alabama state law, you have either to reach a settlement concerning your personal injury claim with the other party or parties involved or to file a lawsuit within 24 months (or two years) of the day of the car accident. This is why you want to call a lawyer right away.

What NOT to do:

  • Do NOT admit fault to the other driver, the police, or your insurance company.
    • Do not apologize in any way, as this could be taken as an admission of fault.
  • Do not delay seeking medical attention, because some injuries may take longer to present.
  • Do not lie to the police about what happened.
    • Stick to the facts as you know them.
    • Only answer the questions they ask you.
  • Do not sign any paperwork from the insurance company without reviewing it with an attorney first.
  • Do not accept a settlement offer without talking to an attorney first.
    • Do not accept a settlement offer if you are still undergoing medical treatment, as your expenses may be higher than anticipated. You have two years to file a claim; don’t lock yourself out of a just offer.

The Mezrano Law Firm provides comprehensive representation to clients throughout the great state of Alabama. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, reach out to one of our offices in Birmingham, Florence, Gadsden, Mobile, Montgomery, or Tuscaloosa. To schedule your free initial consultation with a seasoned Alabama car accident attorney, do not hesitate to call 205-206-6300 or to fill out our contact form.