Car Accident? What Next?
Car accidents are a common occurrence. There are millions of car accidents every year and unfortunately, many of those result in personal damages, pain, and, unfortunately, loss of life. Approximately 20% of accidents lead to a fatality.
If you are ever in car accident, there are some things that you need to know and do long before you get a lawyer involved. Here is a step by step list for you to reference.
- Stop – Leaving the scene of an accident is a serious crime. In a desperate situation it may seem like a good idea, but it will lead to much more serious consequences than if you wait at the scene and face the problem head on.
- Preserve the scene – If possible, setting out flares or safety triangles can alert other drivers that there is an accident. This can prevent further accidents or damage.
- Alert the police – It’s always a good idea to call the police in the event of an accident. Having a police report on record will make interactions and claims with your insurance company much simpler. Additionally, police reports can be a huge asset in the event of a lawsuit related to the accident. If the dispatcher determines that the accident is not serious enough to warrant a police response, simply make note of the date and time of your call for future reference.
- Keep a record of things – While you’re waiting for the police, it’s a good time to settle your nerves and then write down everything that happened to the best of your ability. Try to simply note facts and observable truths and refrain from speculation or accusation. This will help when the police arrive and you have to make a statement. If possible, take as many pictures as you can. Don’t just take pictures of your car’s damages, but of the other vehicle, the scene, license plate numbers, etc. Make sure you capture images of the entire scene and not just close ups of damages. Keep all of this information in a file for your personal records.
- Exchange information – The police will typically take care of this, but it’s always good to have all the necessary information in your records. Make sure you get their phone number, license plate number, insurance company and policy number (it’s on the insurance card), and their name. If the police have opted not to respond, but you encounter a hostile individual who is resistant to this exchange, call back and make them aware of the problem.
- Report the accident – You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible. It’s likely that you haven’t read all the fine print in your policy, but many policies require immediate reporting. Let them know quickly to get the matter resolved quickly.
- See the doctor – Accident injuries are not always obvious. They can be internal or soft tissue are not immediately obvious. Most accident victims report pain 2-3 days after an accident. Letting a doctor assess you will be helpful in determining the extent of your injuries.
- Call an attorney – An attorney can help make sure that your rights are protected and that your insurance company or the other party don’t take advantage of you. Your attorney can provide you the necessary legal advice and representation in dealing with your insurance company if there are any problems reaching an appropriate settlement. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.
This list will help you deal with the effects of an accident cool and calmly while protecting you and your rights.