A car accident can happen at any time, even during a pandemic, when there are fewer cars on the road due to shelter in place orders. Being in an accident can be challenging and concerning enough during normal times, let alone during the outbreak of a virus.
What do you need to know if you are in a car accident in Delaware during COVID-19? Essentially, you can follow the normal protocol after an accident, but you should take some extra precautions to stick to social distancing guidelines.
What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident Right Now
Your behavior following an accident will be dissected by insurance companies and defense attorneys, which is why we have compiled these steps to help you avoid making common mistakes after a crash. We will also discuss some car accident tips during a pandemic to help you navigate a car accident during the coronavirus.
If you are in a car accident, follow these steps:
1. Contact the Proper Authorities
After you have been in an accident, contact the authorities. Not contacting the police can create problems for you from the beginning. If you do not contact the police, this inaction suggests that the crash was not serious enough that law enforcement needed to be involved.
When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will evaluate the situation and complete an official accident report. Though you cannot use this report to prove liability in court, your lawyer can use this report to obtain valuable information about the accident.
2. Stay at the Accident Scene
You should also remain at the accident scene until law enforcement arrives and matters have been resolved to the point that you and the other driver are able to part ways. If you leave the scene of the accident before law enforcement arrives, then you may be accused of a hit and run, especially if the other driver sustained an injury from the accident.
Keep social distancing tips in mind while interacting with others. Stay at least 6 feet apart. Wear masks and gloves while interacting with others at the scene if you can. If the other driver is not abiding by social distancing measures and is making you feel unsafe, stay in your vehicle until law enforcement arrives and can assist you.
3. Gather as Many Details as Possible
After you have been in an accident, you should gather as many details as possible to use as evidence. This often means taking as many pictures and videos as possible of the scene, including your vehicle's damage.
You should also exchange contact information with the other driver. To stick to social distancing protocol, verbally exchange mobile numbers and get a text confirmation before leaving instead of exchanging papers with contact information. Text photos of all the necessary documents to the other driver, so you can avoid hand-to-hand exchanges.
Alternatively, you could ask the other driver to place his or her documents on a flat, safe surface, so you can take pictures of the documents or write down the information with your own paper and pen. If you are using pictures of the documents, ensure that all the information is visible and clear in every picture before leaving the scene.
Beyond details of the scene, you should also retain receipts of your automotive repairs and records of any medical treatments. Collect objective information, so you have evidence that backs up your description of the accident and can avoid a he-said-she-said situation.
4. Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible
When you have been involved in a car crash in Delaware, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. This immediate action will ensure that your injuries are documented, and will make it easier for your doctor to connect to the accident any injuries that appear later. Many insurance companies often argue that an injury is not serious or related to the crash if the victim does not seek medical treatment right away.
A personal injury during COVID-19 can make getting injured feel even more overwhelming, but getting medical attention and treatment is still crucial. Follow the necessary protocols set by your doctor's office or clinic. You may also be able to contact your primary care physician and ask what he or she recommends for your situation. It may be possible to schedule a video call or telemedicine appointment rather than an in-person visit.
Regardless of whether you schedule an in-person visit or a telemedicine appointment, be sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Your doctor will be able to help you determine the appropriate treatment for you during this time.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
You may also want to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Under most auto insurance policies, policyholders are required to inform their carrier as soon as possible about an accident. This initial contact is not to be confused with filing an insurance claim — though, if you delay in reporting the accident, you may risk a claim denial later on.
During COVID-19, expect the process of receiving medical treatment and communicating with insurance providers to take longer. An overwhelmed healthcare system and closed offices and courts are causing delays across the board.
6. Contact an Attorney
Getting in a car accident and dealing with the other driver and insurance companies can be a stressful process for many drivers. If you have not been in an accident before, this process can seem incredibly complicated and overwhelming. This is why drivers who have recently been in an accident choose to contact an attorney.
A few insurance companies are leveraging delays caused by the pandemic to pressure claimants to settle for a lower amount than they may need to cover damages. An experienced Delaware auto accident attorney can help you get the compensation to which you are entitled.
Contact Morris James Personal Injury If You Were Injured in an Accident
Even during this uncertain time, it is important to keep a personal injury claim moving. Our lawyers in the Morris James Personal Injury Group can set up meetings via video chat to discuss your situation with you.
Our auto accident attorneys have the expertise needed to help you fight for compensation after a collision. We will help you through each stage of the process. If you have recently been injured in a car accident in Delaware, contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group for help with your case.