What To Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents are traumatizing, and in many cases, someone ends up getting injured. Sometimes, these types of vehicular accidents lead to massive car damage, severe injuries, and even fatalities.
It pays to be prepared and know what you should do if you get involved in an accident even if you are fortunate enough to walk away with just minor injuries. The more prepared you are with the case history, documentation, and medical bills, the higher your settlement can be should you decide to file a lawsuit. Here are ten things you should do right after a car accident.
1. Assess your situation
The most important thing after being in an accident is to assess the health situation of you and the people you’re with, especially children or elderly people. As much as possible, never jeopardize your safety or someone else’s.
2. Call 911
Calling 911 will allow the police and/or fire department to dispatch local authorities and emergency rescuers to your location. It doesn’t matter how minor the accident is; you should get a police report. It will provide an accurate record of what happened, which can help in your legal case down the line.
3. Get immediate medical attention.
Once the medics arrive, get yourself checked by a medical expert regardless of whether you feel hurt or not. At times, due to the shock, we may be unaware of the injuries we sustained. It’s best to get a medical clearance for your own peace of mind.
Even after getting evaluated at the scene of the accident, you may still want to request a full medical evaluation at the hospital. The recovery process after a car accident isn’t easy and you should make sure to take it seriously.
4. Document the scene of the accident
If you are uninjured and able to walk around, take pictures or videos of the scene. Check your surroundings as well. Chances are, there are no police officers yet to redirect traffic so that the streets might be a little crazy after the accident.
Make sure to take photos of anything that can be related to the accident. You can also ask people passing by whether they took pictures or videos and have them send them to you.
5. Get details of the people involved in the accident
Besides photos of the accident, you should also get the contact information of the witnesses and the people related to the accident if they are able, including the following:
● The driver’s contact information such as phone number and home address
● The driver’s insurance company and policy number
● The driver’s license number
● The cars’ plate numbers
6. Get details of witnesses
Witnesses are the people saw seen the accident but were not involved. You don’t exactly have to take their statements since that is the police’s job. However, they might walk away before the police arrive, so it will be hard to track them if they have valuable information.
If you can, get the details of the nearby witnesses, such as their name and phone number.
7. Do not admit fault or liability
The police will talk to you, but you should not admit fault or liability even if you think it was indeed your fault. Do not lie, but don’t go into details and leave that conversation for when you’re with your lawyer.
Again, don’t lie. Tell them what you can, but don’t admit it was your fault since there might be other factors that have contributed to the accident.
You’re also under no obligation to talk to insurance companies. You can always say that you’re working with your lawyer and that they will contact the companies.
8. Have your car appraised
After the accident, make sure you have your vehicle appraised first before having it repaired. Take the vehicle to an expert to have it assessed. Most of the time, repair estimates are required by insurance companies.
9. Avoid posting online
It’s the nature of social media: we want people to know what we’re doing or where we are. Surely, being involved in a car accident will definitely be interesting for your followers. However, avoid doing so as much as possible. Even when contacting close family members or friends, you’ll want to do it offline.
Anything you post online can be used in depositions. Your posts can also cause legal issues.
10. Contact a car accident lawyer
The next thing you should do is contact a reliable and experienced car accident lawyer to understand your way forward and especially to deal with your insurance providers.