What to do if you've been in a car accident
If you are driving on a road, out of nowhere you are stuck from behind you,
1. Get to a safe area
● Chances are you were involved in a collision on a road and now you will need to move to the side of the road or exit the interstate. Moving your vehicle to a safe area will reduce your chances significantly by not causing further damage or producing more injuries to either party involved. The safety of those involved is the most important above all.
2. Call the police
● Calling the police department should be a top priority once involved in an accident. The police officer(s) that arrive to the scene of the car accident will be able to tend to anyone that is possibly hurt or injured to get those persons the medical attention needed. They are also able to file a formal report so there’s documentation for a claim for insurance purposes. Lastly, the police officer is the person to establish who is at fault.
3. Call your insurance company
● Calling your insurance provider is extremely necessary. You are letting them know you’ve been in an accident so they can get a rental car for you (if needed). If car is damaged, you are also making them aware of the fact that your car is damaged and needs to be repaired.
4. Swap info with the other driver(s) involved (https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/consequences-hit-run-accident.html)
● A hit and run is illegal, while fleeing the scene of an accident is not, however it is an admittance of guilt.
● Alabama Code Title 32. Motor Vehicles and Traffic § 32-10-3 https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-32-motor-vehicles-and-traffic/al-code-sect-32-10-1.html
○ The driver of any motor vehicle which collides with any motor vehicle or other vehicle which is unattended shall immediately stop and shall then and there either locate and notify the operator or owner of such vehicle of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle striking the unattended vehicle or shall leave in a conspicuous place in or on the vehicle struck a written notice giving the name and address of the driver and/or the owner of the vehicle doing the striking and a statement of the circumstances thereof.
○ The driver of any motor vehicle involved in an accident resulting only in damage to fixtures legally upon or adjacent to a highway shall take reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such property of such fact and of his or her name and address and of the registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and shall upon request exhibit his or her driver's license and shall make report of such accident when and as required in Section 32-10-5 .
○ Every person convicted of violating Sections 32-10-1 through 32-10-5 or any of the provisions thereof, when such violation involved only damage to property, shall be punished the same as prescribed by law for a Class A misdemeanor; provided, however, that every person convicted of violating such sections, or any provisions thereof, when such violation involved death or personal injury, shall be punished the same as prescribed by law for a Class C felony.
● Swapping information can help each other involved with claims from their insurance company once liability is proven to help identify who would be responsible for paying for damages possibly incurred.
*Law enforcement has 24 hours to complete a report or investigate the scene of the accident and send a copy to the Uniform Accident Report agency. https://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-32-motor-vehicles-and-traffic/al-code-sect-32-10-7.html
● Every law enforcement officer who in the regular course of duty investigates a motor vehicle accident, either at the time of and at the scene of the accident or thereafter by interviewing participants or witnesses, shall, within 24 hours after completing such investigation, forward the necessary completed written report or copy thereof of such accident to the director on the uniform accident report form supplied by the director.
*REMEMBER: Never admit fault or apologize. Admitting guilt determines that you are liable for causing the accident before the police arrive at the scene to judge who is accountable for the auto accident.
5. Document EVERYTHING!!!
● Taking pictures of damages can help your insurance agency get a better understanding of what happened and can establish which parts of the vehicle if not the whole vehicle were damaged, so the claim will list what all needs to be handled in regards to fixing the damages if any were accumulated.
6. Consider going to the doctor
● You never know if something internally is wrong and how to be treated by the doctor or if you are okay. You can also document the costs to be reimbursed.