What To Do If You Get In An Automobile Accident

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., April 3, 2014 -- Anyone who's ever been involved in a car accident knows how stressful and disorienting it can be, and simple mistakes can add insult to injury by costing you thousands of dollars in medical and repair bills. Here are 4 steps you can take to ensure you aren't taken advantage of in an auto accident.

Stay Calm: In the seconds after an accident, take a moment to keep control over yourself. Do your best to stay calm in the wake of an accident. The last thing you want to do is condemn yourself by admitting guilt (even saying "I'm sorry" is an admission of guilt), and don't get into a fight with the other people in the accident. Before getting out the car, check yourself and any passengers for injuries, then when it's safe to exit your vehicle, ask any other drivers involved in the accident if they are alright. IF YOU OR ANYONE ELSE HAS SIGNS OF A SERIOUS INJURY, CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY AND FOLLOW THEIR INSTRUCTIONS.

Be Safe: While you and your cars are in the road, you are in danger of being hit by other drivers. Turn on your car's hazard lights, and attempt to move the cars to the side of the road. If they cannot be moved, get to a place of safety, like the side of the road. When you're in a safe place, either you or one of your passengers needs to call the police. Dial 911 if it's a large accident, or 242-COPS (2677) if it's not. Police reports are highly important when determining fault, and having police on the scene can help moderate tempers.

Get the Following Information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email
  • Driver's license number
  • Insurance company
  • Policy number (You don't need an SSN to file a police report)

Document Everything: When everyone is safe, exchange information with the other driver. When you call your insurance company to file a claim, have the time, location, description of the other car and its driver and passengers on hand. Take pictures of the damage done, and if you can, try to sketch out and write down how the accident happened. Look for witnesses and people who saw what happened, and get their information as well.
Pull out your phone right now and program in the non-emergency phone number for the APD (505-242-2677) and both the phone and policy number for your insurance.

Source: Ron Bell is a practicing attorney in New Mexico for more than 30 years. He primarily limits his practice to personal injury law. In August of 2008 Bell merged his firm with the Hughes Coleman firm from Nashville, TN. The new firm offers all types of injury litigation and representation.

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