First: Notify the police. With so many cellphones today, it should be simple. Set the phone number of your police department in your phone and call the police yourself, rather than relying on someone else. Then wait until the police arrive, and do not leave the scene until the police leave. We also strongly request under any circumstances, you make a formal report of the event. That can be critical to ensure you are protected and compensated for damages.
Second: Get the contact information of other drivers and people involved. Get the name, address, phone number, email address or other information from the driver or drivers of other vehicles involved.
Also get the license plate number of the vehicles and the name of the insurance company, if available.
Third: Get information from witnesses. Get names and contact information of each and every one of the witnesses to the accident.
Fourth: Take pictures. Take photos of damage to your vehicle and yourself and other occupants of your vehicle. Often this can be done via cellphone that can store photos. If you do not have that on your phone, keep a cheap disposable camera in your glove compartment for use in such emergencies.
Fifth: Contact the insurance company of your car, motorcycle or truck, as well as your health insurance. They need to know early that you had an accident and need to make a claim on your policy.
Sixth: Get a good lawyer. Hire a car accident lawyer or an attorney experienced in automobile accidents. This can be a key factor in ensuring that your rights are protected and that you get the financing agreement at the end of the case that an insurance company owes.
Remember, insurance companies are in that business for profit and may try to pay a lot less than you are entitled to receive. In fact, in some circumstances, the insurer can refuse to pay anything. A car accident lawyer who knows the subject is accustomed to such tactics and can fight for you to obtain a full and fair financial compensation for their losses, from medical bills, lost wages, up to pain and suffering.
Seven: Seek medical attention for injuries. Regardless of the state of your health insurance, see a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you clearly were injured. Even if you have what appears to be minor pain, it is imperative that you have an evaluation by a doctor soon, not only to make sure it is safe, but also to support your claim for an economic recovery in case you need to seek payment insurance at any time after the accident.
Eight: Insurance companies rarely want to pay for injuries if the client does not see a doctor for a substantial time after the accident. If you are injured in an accident, the only way to ensure it is formally documented and therefore verifiable is to see a doctor immediately. Also keep records of all subsequent visits to the doctor and ask your lawyer to cover the costs of such visits before you get any money from the insurer.
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Our firm has offices in both Providence and Narragansett.