What Should You Do Immediately After an Accident on Private Property?
There is a lot of conflicting advice about what to do after a car wreck on private property. While there are certain legal and procedural differences that can affect a potential personal injury case, for the most part you should follow the same basic initial steps that you would for any other type of car accident.
- Immediately after a wreck, assess the damage. If someone suffered serious injuries, you need to call 911 and get them medical attention right away. This should be your top priority.
- Contact the police. They should be able to give you an incident report, and if they can’t, try to get one from the property owner or someone who works at the property. (More on this in the next section.)
- Take pictures of the property damage and accident scene. These images might be important evidence later on.
- Swap insurance information with the other involved driver. If possible, get contact information and statements from witnesses too.
- See a doctor as soon as possible. What might seem like “minor bumps and bruises” might be early signs of a serious injury. If you have any symptoms whatsoever after the crash—even very minor ones, like mild stiffness or soreness, call your doctor.
Don’t Ignore Your Legal Rights After a Car Accident
While you might not immediately start thinking about a personal injury claim, the insurance company sees you as a case number from day one. As soon as it learns about your claim, insurance adjusters will start looking for ways to decrease your case’s settlement value (or make it go away completely).
When you take proactive steps, like calling the police, seeing a doctor, and taking pictures of the crash site, you’re creating evidence that can help you fight back.
For example, post-crash symptoms sometimes take days or even weeks to reach their peak. If you do not receive medical care soon after the crash, typically within a week, the insurer could argue that your injuries aren’t really that serious, and that your case isn’t worth much. Plus, the longer you wait to treat your injuries, the worse they will get.
You should also contact an attorney, even before you speak to your insurance company. Your insurance provider will try to pay you the smallest amount to limit their losses, so you need an experienced lawyer to make sure possible you get what you deserve.
Personal injury attorneys deal with insurance companies every day. They will make sure you avoid any situations that will get you less than what you deserve in your settlement.
Should You Call the Police?