With COVID-19 (Coronavirus) still present, many local police departments are changing how they respond to motor vehicle accidents. Part of that change is not coming to more minor accidents to reduce the chances of exposure to COVID-19. They’re trying to protect themselves and the general public and focusing on in-person interactions only when necessary such as cases that involve significant crime.
But if you’re in an accident and the police aren’t coming to the scene, there’s no need to panic! Here, we’ll explain exactly what you need to do in order to document the accident and strengthen any future claims you may have to make. With tips from McCoy & McCoy, you can be confident on the road and have peace of mind that you’ll know what to do if you’re involved in an accident and the police aren’t there to help.
Stay Calm and Call 911 Right Away
You may feel scared if you’re in a car accident, but staying as calm as possible can help. Relax and call 911 right away. Of course, that’s very important if there are serious injuries, but you should call even for a minor accident. Sometimes the police will still come to the scene. If they won’t, they’ll at least have a record of what happened because of your phone call.
Never Make a Statement Without Talking to an Auto Accident Attorney
Making statements to others isn’t a good idea until you have an opportunity to talk to an accident attorney. You may need to give some detail and information to the police, but don’t make any formal statement to anyone. You can refuse to do so if the other driver asks you to, so don’t feel forced into it. Anything you say could have the potential to come back to you at a later date.
Get the Name, License Plate, and Insurance Info of the Other Driver
Exchanging information is crucial. You want to make sure you know the other driver’s name, license plate number, and insurance information. Don’t just write down whatever they tell you.
Instead, ask to see their driver’s license and insurance card. Take good, clear pictures of the front and back of them. Also, take a picture of the license plate. You want to be sure you have the information you need to file a report and a claim to help protect your interests. Not all drivers are honest, especially if they may be at fault.
Receive a Statement From the Other Driver and Any Nearby Witnesses
Even though you shouldn’t make a statement before talking to an attorney, you should get a statement from the other driver if they’ll give one. Getting a statement is usually part of the car accident police procedure and can help you in your case later. If the police don’t respond to your car accident, the more information you can collect on your own, the better off you’ll be.
Some witnesses won’t be willing to make a statement, which may be true of the other driver. Ask anyway. You can write down what they say and have them sign it or even take a video of them giving a statement, as long as you have their consent. Also, be sure to get identifying information from witnesses in case they need to be contacted later.
Take Photos of All Damage to Your Car, the Other Driver’s Vehicle, and Any Other Damage
Pictures really are worth a thousand words. By taking as many photos as you can, you’ll be more likely to have what you need if you’re asked about it later.
Take photos of the damage to your car, the damage to the other vehicle, and any further damage caused by the accident. For example, if one of your vehicles struck a light pole, someone’s fence, or anything else as a part of the accident, take pictures of that, as well. Make sure you get clear images with good lighting and from all different angles. The more, the better!
File a Report Online or Go to the Police Station in Person
Even if you’re wondering whether you have to call the police after a minor accident, it’s always better to make that phone call right away. Then, after you’ve collected all the information from the scene (pictures, statements, info from the other driver, etc.), you can file a report online or go to the station and file a police report.
Having that report can make a big difference if you need to fight a claim later. Ensure you understand how long you have to file a police report after a car accident and get it done quickly.
Call a Lawyer as Soon as Possible (Before You Call the Insurance Company)
Before you call your insurance company, call a lawyer. By talking to us first, you’ll be protecting your rights and interests. Then, you can reduce your worries because McCoy & McCoy will have your back!
Reach out to us today, and let us help you protect your rights after a car accident. We’re here to help!