You’ve been in a motor vehicle collision, and you never even saw it coming. The other driver went through a red light and broadsided you at 35 miles per hour. Even though you’re shocked and hurt, you need to ask these five questions as soon as possible.
Is everybody alright?
If you have passengers, check on their physical conditions. When you call 911, the operator is going to want to know how many people were hurt. That tells them how many ambulances and paramedics to send to the scene. Find out what hospital they’ll be taking you to. Then you can let your family know where you’ll be.
Does the other party have insurance?
If the accident was their fault, you’ll be making your insurance claim against them and their insurance company. You’ll want the name of the insurer, the name of the policyholder and the policy number. That information should be on their insurance card, and the investigating police officer can get it for you. If they didn’t have insurance, hopefully you’re covered by uninsured motorist insurance.
If they do have insurance, how much coverage do they have?
If they do have insurance, they might only have minimum liability coverage. That might not be enough to compensate you or a family member if there were serious injuries. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, it’s highly likely that you also have underinsured motorist insurance. You’ll probably want to make a claim on your underinsured coverageif the at fault driver’s coverage isn’t sufficient.
When and where can I get a copy of the accident report?
Unless you’re in a really large city, you can usually get a copy of the accident report at the police department of the city where you were in the accident after about four days. There will probably be a nominal charge. Both your insurance company and your attorney will want copies.
Do I have to give a statement to the insurer of the person at fault?
The insurer of the person who caused the crash might call or write you wanting a written or recorded statement from you. Never give any kind of a statement to the opposing insurer without your attorney present. One way or another, that statement will be used against you in the future to try to shift at least some of the blame for the accident onto you. If your own insurer wants a statement from you, that’s fine.
As soon as practicable after an accident, contact your insurer and attorney. Your job is to recover from your injuries.