If you've just been in an accident, remain calm. Below are steps to take and things to remember: Call 911. It is always better to have a police office investigate and prepare a report than to rely on the other driver to say what really happened. When you speak to the police officer, just tell the truth about how the accident happened. If you are asked if you were injured, even if you don't feel pain at the scene, say: "I'm not sure". Many times your adrenaline will have risen during or immediately following the accident at the scene, and you may not start to feel pain until a while afterwards, even a few days, post accident. If possible, take pictures of your property damage and that of the other driver. Try to get the other driver's name, insurance company, policy number, and vehicle plate number, even if the police are on their way. Getting this information at the scene can increase the speed at which your claim is processed and liability is accepted. Waiting to get the information from the police report can delay your claim by an average of 15-45 days. Report the accident to your insurance company and record the claim number assigned and the phone number to the claims department. DO NOT give a statement about the accident to the other person's insurance company until you've spoken with your attorney. The insurance company for the person that hit you is not there to help you. It is, however, fine to give a statement to the adjuster for your company. When you seek medical attention, make sure you make your treating physicians aware that your pain is from the motor vehicle accident you were just in. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the easier it is for the opposing insurance company to claim you weren't really injured that severely in the accident. Meet with your attorney as soon after the accident as possible. The sooner an attorney gets involved, the sooner your property damage can be handled. Also, the investigation into the facts of the accident is best conducted as soon as possible after the accident occurs. That is when the evidence is freshest and when memories are clearest. Keep a journal or diary of doctor visits, lost time from work, and other appointments relating to the accident. Also, keep all out of pocket receipts for items and medications purchased as a result of the accident. Keep track of all the things you can't do as a result of the accident such as recreational trips and household chores. Keep your attorney informed of all the medical providers you see, and when you are released from treatment. - Jon H. Jacobs, Esq.