You have been involved in a motor vehicle accident – what do you do? Obviously, if you are seriously injured the most immediate concern is to get medical attention. Sometimes an accident may seem minor and you do not appear seriously injured. A few days go by and you realize that you are more significantly injured than you first thought. No matter how minor the accident, here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
1) If you are not at fault for the accident, do not let the other driver convince you to go outside of insurance. Get the other driver’s insurance and license information. If you are deemed not at fault by your insurer, your premiums will not go up. There is no downside to you reporting the accident to your insurer. However, if you fail to report the accident in a timely manner, you may prejudice yourself from collecting no-fault accident benefits through your own insurance such as income replacement and medical rehabilitation.
2) If possible, take pictures of the accident scene before you move the cars. Do not put your safety at risk, but the positioning of the vehicles could become important if the other driver claims they are not at fault for the accident. Try to snap a few pictures of the position of the vehicles and the extent of damage to both.
3) Look for independent witnesses right away. If there is a minor accident, most other drivers in the area will drive away without stopping. If possible, try to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident. Many times it can become your word against that of the other driver regarding fault for the accident. An independent witness can help put that argument to rest.
4) Call the police and get an accident report. Police will not always attend at the scene for a minor accident. If you feel like you are injured, contact emergency services and insist that a police officer attend at the scene. They will conduct an investigation and make a determination as to who is at fault for the accident.
5) Do not delay in seeking medical attention. Even if you have slight neck or back pain, or “nothing serious”, you should go see your family doctor. If the injuries turn out to be more serious than you thought, and you delay treatment, this could harm a potential lawsuit down the road. The argument being that you did not seek medical attention right away and your injuries may not have been from the accident. This is especially true if there is a long gap between the accident and your first medical attendance.