While you can’t anticipate a car accident, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Here’s what to do after an accident.
With an average of 6 million car accidents happening every year in the U.S., there is no telling when you might be the next victim.
Unfortunately, not too many of us are well-prepared to handle the aftermath of an accident. And even if you have a clue, a flood of stress and emotions can come in the way of rational thinking.
However, it is essential that against all odds, you maintain a cool head since the steps you take immediately after, will have an impact on whether you get the justice you deserve.
While you can’t anticipate a car accident, there’s no such thing as being too prepared. Here’s what to do after an accident and the steps you should take to protect your interests.
What to Do After an Accident
Being proactive after an accident will not only help ensure your safety but will also help your claim case if you decide to seek compensation or justice. Here is what you need to do.
- Do Not Leave the Scene
Regardless of how much in a rush you might be, never leave the scene of an accident unless given the go-ahead by the authorities.
If you leave and someone happens to have sustained injuries or worse, you run the risk of facing severe criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver.
This is why it is important to have a lawyer at your beck and call as they will help you handle such stressful situations.
- Check on Everybody
Before you get to assess the damage inflicted on your car, first ensure to check on the state of everyone that was involved in the accident. This includes the persons on the other vehicle too. Then get medical assistance for those who need it.
If an individual is unconscious or is complaining of back or neck pain, do not move them until the ER team arrives. Unless, of course, if there is looming danger such as a fire. Even so, try to be very delicate.
- Notify the Police
Having police at the scene is not only important for maintaining order, but you will also need the police report when you start the claims process. Ask the police where you can obtain that report.
- Assess the Accident Scene
After ensuring that help is on the way, start taking inventory of what occurred. Couple this with measures to protect your rights. This means taking photos of the entire accident scene which includes the vehicles and debris from different angles.
If you have sustained injuries, take pictures of them as well.
- Exchange Contact Information
Ensure to obtain the name, number, address, driver’s license number, license plate, and basic insurance information of the other driver. If they have passengers, be sure to collect their information as well.
Be cordial and cooperative while talking to the other party.
However, while doing so, do not make the mistake of admitting guilt, even if you are at fault. That is admitting legal-liability, which can effectively ensure that your insurer does not compensate you.
Let the authorities decide whose fault it was.
- Call Your Insurer
It is important that you are the first one to notify your insurance about what has happened. Do not allow the other driver and their insurer to report a claim before you call.
During the call, let your insurer in on the details of the accident. This allows them to start preparing a claim for you. They may also send an agent to assess the scene.
Timely notifying your insurer not only help hasten the claims process but might also be part of your contract with the company. Failing to do so, therefore, could jeopardize your compensation.
- Call a Lawyer
After talking to your insurer, you must notify your lawyer. This is because the moment two cars come into contact with each other, it immediately becomes a legal issue, regardless of how minor the accident might be.
A personal injury lawyer ensures that you are well prepared for any legal matters that might arise.
Secondly, you will soon realize that the insurance company is quite difficult to deal with. They are a business, after all, and are looking to get you to settle for the least amount possible.
Having a qualified lawyer by your side ensures that you get the compensation you deserve.
Reputable personal injury lawyers will not shy away from a lawsuit if that is the best course of action.
- Talk to Witnesses
If there are people who watched the accident occur, it is essential that you get their version of the story, especially if the other driver is at fault. Doing so will ensure that you have a backup in court in case the other driver attempts to flip the script on you.
Therefore, ensure that you get the contact information of all the witnesses that you speak to.
- Track Your Medical Treatment and Records
Note down any health specialist that helped you on your road to recovery. Ensure to have a detailed account of all the treatments and medications that you received. Also, ask for copies of all medical reports and bills.
These documents will help you prove your medical expenses as you seek compensation.
And while medical expenses are not that hard to track, the pain and suffering that resulted from the accident is hard to prove.
However, you need to get compensated for that as well. As such, ensure you document how your injuries have impacted your way of living.
Therefore, include any missed workdays as well as activities you can no longer undertake.
- Do Not Fall for a Quick Settlement
Often, when the accident is the other driver’s fault, their insurance will call and ask you for a quick settlement. They will offer you a sum of money right there, and in return, you have to sign a release for any future claims.
Even if the sum looks tempting, do not accept it. Wait until you have had a thorough medical evaluation by a doctor as well as a chiropractor to ensure that you do not have any serious injuries.
Your attorney will then advise you on whether to accept the offer or not.
Moving Forward Following an Accident
Nearly 2.5 million people were injured in a car accident in 2015. If you become a victim of a road accident you might not be able to have the quality of life you had prior to the accident.
Getting justice and compensation will go a long way in helping you move forward.
Hopefully, this article has provided enough insights on what to do after an accident, to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
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