When involved in an Arizona car accident, it's crucial to follow a series of steps to ensure your safety and adhere to legal requirements. Plus, taking specific steps is key to initiating and supporting your car accident claim. Below, you’ll find 10 key steps to take.
1. Check for Injuries
After a car accident, check for injuries by assessing your body for pain or bleeding. Look for bruises, cuts, or swelling. Gently test your limbs' mobility without straining. Also, observe for dizziness, confusion, or difficulty breathing, which may indicate internal injuries.
If you find any signs of injury or feel unwell, call emergency services immediately. Be aware that some injuries may not show immediate symptoms due to shock and adrenaline. If you’re not severely hurt, check on your passengers. If any of them are injured, immediately call 911 or ask a bystander to do so.
2. Move to a safe location
After a car accident, ensure your vehicle is off the road to avoid further accidents. If you can move the car, steer it to the roadside or a nearby parking area. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. If the car is immovable and you're in a dangerous location, carefully exit the vehicle and move to a safer spot, such as a sidewalk or behind barriers.
Always be aware of oncoming traffic and avoid crossing busy roads carelessly. If injured or it's unsafe to move, stay in the car with seatbelts fastened and wait for help.
3. Call the police to report the car accident
Regardless of the car accident's severity, call the police. Responding officers will document the scene and create an accident report. If the police can’t come, you can visit a police station to file a report.
Their report provides an unbiased account of the incident, helping to determine fault and liability. Moreover, police can facilitate medical assistance if needed, ensure the safety of the accident scene, and manage traffic to prevent further incidents.
To report a car accident, dial emergency services and clearly state your location, the nature of the accident, and if there are any injuries. Provide your name and contact details.
4. Exchange information with other parties and witnesses
While waiting for the police to arrive, calmly approach the other party involved. Exchange information such as names, contact details, and insurance information. Share your vehicle's make, model, and license plate number. It's helpful to also exchange driver's license numbers.
If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information as well. Remain courteous and factual and avoid discussions about fault or liability. If the other party is uncooperative or hostile, stay safe and wait for the authorities to arrive to assist with the information exchange.
5. Document the car accident scene
Also, while waiting for the police, start documenting the crash scene. Take photos from various angles. Capture all vehicles involved, their positions, and any damage inflicted. Include street signs or landmarks to establish the location.
Also, take pictures of skid marks, road conditions, and traffic signs to provide context. Be sure to note the time, date, and weather conditions.
6. Get medical attention
Never put off getting medical attention after a car accident, even if you feel fine. Some injuries can take several days to produce symptoms and can worsen if left untreated. This is common with whiplash, concussions, and soft tissue injuries.
When you get medical attention, a doctor can evaluate you and determine if there are any hidden injuries. They can also provide an official diagnosis that establishes a clear link between your injury and the car accident you were involved in.
7. Notify your insurance company
Notify your insurer about the accident as soon as possible. You can call them from the crash scene or use their mobile app if available. Your insurer will guide you on what they need for the claims process and can arrange towing of your vehicle to a certified body shop.
To notify your insurance company, first collect all necessary information such as the date, time, location, and details of all parties and vehicles involved. Provide them only with the necessary details regarding your crash. Avoid admitting fault or discussing blame, as this can potentially hurt your chances of getting compensated.
8. Avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company
If you’re seeking compensation from the other driver’s insurance company, they will likely contact you. They may ask you to provide a recorded statement. However, a recorded statement can be misconstrued as admitting fault. The insurance company may also use your statements to downplay your injuries, reduce your compensation, and delay your settlement.
When you avoid speaking to them, you don’t give them any leverage over your claim. Let an experienced attorney handle all communications and negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company.