Mesa AZ | Personal Injury attorney Brian T. Allen answers the following question:
Q: I just got rear-ended by another car. What do I do?
A: In the event of a car accident, you should do the following:
- Remain at the scene.
Stop your vehicle and remain where you are. Arizona law requires each driver involved in an accident to remain at the scene of the accident and exchange information with the other driver. You may face criminal charges for failing to remain at the scene of the accident if you leave, even if you think the accident wasn’t your fault.
- Seek medical help if you need it.
Are you seriously injured? Is anybody else involved in the accident seriously injured? By law, you must offer aid to anybody injured in the accident, including by immediately dialing 911 and seeking emergency medical assistance.
- Report the accident to local law enforcement.
Call the police and report the accident. Describe the circumstances of the accident, the nature of the apparent damage to your vehicle, and any injuries. If your vehicle is still operable, the police may ask you to move it to a safe location, such as the side of the road or a parking lot. Depending on the situation, officers may be sent to the scene of the accident.
- Exchange information.
If it is safe to do so, exit your vehicle and speak with the other driver. You should offer your name, phone number, driver’s license, license plate number, vehicle registration information, and insurance information. Request the same information from the other driver and write down or otherwise record it. If police are present, cooperate with them. If the accident resulted in injuries or serious damage to a vehicle, the police will have to file a report. Remember that the accident report may be valuable to you later. It will contain detailed information about the accident, possibly including diagrams, photos, and statements. Ask any officer on scene how you may obtain a copy of the police report for later use, and record his or her instructions.
- Record the circumstances of the accident.
Even if the police do not need to take a report, record the details of the accident for yourself. Write down what happened and the nature of any injuries or damage. Create a sketch diagram of how the accident occurred. You should also take pictures of the area, injuries, and any damage to vehicles if you can. If there were any witnesses to the accident, try and get their contact information so you can reach them later if you need to do so.
- Leave the scene of the accident.
Once you have exchanged your information with the other driver, recorded the details of the accident, and cooperated with any police assisting at the scene, you may leave. Hopefully, your vehicle is still operable and able to be moved without further damage. If it is not, seek the assistance of a towing service. Depending on your insurance, towing might be covered by your policy.
- Report the accident to insurance.
As soon as possible, call your insurance provider and report the accident. Tell them about the nature of the accident and any injuries or damage. Use the information you gathered at the scene of the accident. They will give you instructions on how to proceed.
If you were not at fault for the accident, or if you were only partially at fault, you will want to contact the other driver’s insurance provider. Notify them that you will be filing a claim for the damage the other driver caused.
- If you need to, seek the help of an experienced attorney.
If you are filing a claim against the other driver’s insurance company, it is possible that the claim can be easily resolved between you, your insurance company, and the other insurance company without too much difficulty. However, in some cases, typically those involving serious damage and/or injuries, the assistance of an experienced attorney could be invaluable to you.
If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney after a serious car accident, call Mesa AZ Personal Injury Attorney Brian Allen at (480) 461-5335 or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options.