Although car accidents are a common occurrence, many people do not know the proper procedures involved in reporting it and do not know how to handle the situation. Obviously the most important thing to do in a car accident is to respond to injuries first. However, injuries aside, an important first step you need to take following a car accident is to report the incident to the authorities.
A common mistake people make is deciding only to call the police after a major accident rather than the more common fender-bender and minor collision. However, regardless of the severity of the accident, it is equally important to call the police for reporting purposes. The police report serves as basis for insurance companies to determine responsibility and thus resolve the future settlements. This ensures that the claims and interests are protected.
How Do You Report a Car Accident?
- Call the police right after the accident. You may still be startled or disoriented from what happened, but as soon as you have sought medical attention for the injured passengers, including yourself, you need to report the incident. Even when you have agreed to settle with the other party, you need to file a report in order to legally document what happened.
- Tell the truth, but never admit fault. There are cases where you will feel scared or even unsure of what happened, which is why it may appear to you that you are at fault even when you are not. It is therefore important you do not mistakenly admit fault on the accident report that insurance companies will use later.
- You need to provide important information such as the time of crash, precise location, personal details of both drivers, details of the vehicles, description of the injuries, condition of the road at the time of the accident, how the crash occurred, an and images of the incident.
- Be polite in addressing the police. Never sign a document unless it is the crash report.
- Document the situation in case an officer is not available. Find witnesses, and gather evidence. You need to make sure that you can provide the authorities with a detailed report. You may even record your voice narrating the events as you remember them.
Not only is it illegal in many jurisdictions to leave the scene without calling the authorities, but it is for the benefit of both parties, which is why you need to make sure that a police report is properly and timely filed.
If you or a loved one has been in a traffic accident are unsure of what procedures to follow or how to deal with the insurance claims, regardless of whether you remembered to report the accident, the Rhode Island attorneys at car accident attorneys at d’Oliveira & Associates want you to know that you may be entitled to compensation. Through its RI car accident lawyers, d’Oliveira & Associates has years of experience when it comes to auto accident cases. Our lawyers study each case and provide hands-on support to our clients.
Please contact the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6867 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.
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