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What do I do after an auto accident in Cleveland?

Getting into a vehicle is a necessary risk many take daily in Cleveland, Ohio. Most of the time, you arrive at your destination safely. But, sometimes, no matter how careful you are, you can become a car accident victim. With smartphones distracting many drivers on the road, stakes become higher as you share the way with others making careless choices. If you find yourself involved in an auto accident in Cleveland, there are essential steps to take to ensure you get compensation for injuries and damages to your property. 

Steps to take after a car accident:

These steps assume your car wreck did not severely injure you or your passengers, rendering you unable. 

  1. Stop and stay. In many small car accident cases such as a fender bender, some drivers will leave the scene of the accident, thinking they will deal with it later. 
    • Leaving an auto accident in Cleveland is illegal and can come with penalties, even for a minor one. This law applies to the person who was hit, as well.
    • “Under section 4549.02 of the Ohio Revised Code, a person who does not stop after an accident on public roads or highways can be charged with a misdemeanor of the first degree. This offense is punishable by a maximum of 180 days in jail and/or a fine not more than $1,000.” 
    • These penalties become more severe if serious, physical harm comes to the car accident victim. A hit and run could be deadly to the victim.
    • Make sure the other person involved is ok, and if they aren’t, call 911 to ensure medical help is on the way. If you are injured, it is much safer to allow EMTs to transport you to the hospital. There expertise and treatment equipment will minimize further injury.
  2. Preserve the accident scene. 
    • If you are able, move your car out of the way of traffic. Try moving over onto the shoulder or any area that is safe from traffic. If you can’t move your car, turn on your flashing hazards and put out any safety signage you may carry with you in your automobile.
    • If it is safe, you can wait in your car. If not, get out and wait away from traffic and your vehicle. 
  3. Report the car crash. 
    • Even in a crash that doesn’t sustain serious injuries, you will want to alert the police. To file a claim with your insurance, you will need a police report on the accident. The police will record what happened at the accident, which is why preserving the scene is important if it does not endanger others.
  4. Take pictures. With smartphones, getting pictures of an accident is easy. Pictures can help you prove pain and suffering and damage to your property. Photos can help you establish your case and your innocence in court.
    • Try and get these pictures as soon as it’s safe after the accident. Get shots of vehicle damage, and the placement of vehicles if possible.
  5. Exchange information. When a police officer arrives, they will make sure to get the information of all parties involved in the accident. 
    • If the police to not respond, though, you should obtain this information yourself. Ask to take down their driver’s license, insurance information, and tag number. 
    • If there are any witnesses nearby, get their contact information as well. There have been many cases where insurance companies will try and disprove the harm done to yourself and property. An eye witness is a good way to ensure your story is told. 
  6. Submit your claim. Depending on your policy, you may be required to alert your auto insurance carrier of your accident. 
    • If you have any injuries, your policy should help you pay for your medical bills. They may also contact the other party in the accident to determine fault. 
    • If major injuries or costly damages occurred, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney and not give a statement to the insurance company without their counsel. An attorney can ensure that you get compensation for your injuries. This may even extend beyond medical bills if the accident caused pain and suffering in other areas of your life. 

Get Help For An Auto Accident in Cleveland

If you have been in an auto accident in Cleveland, Ohio, contact experienced Cleveland car accident lawyers. The team at The Cochran Firm Cleveland has proven experience helping accident victims receive compensation for their medical care, property damages, and lost wages. Car accident cases sometimes need to be reviewed by experienced law firms to help clients determine their legal options. Contact us today at (216) 281-7922.

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