A car accident is a collision between one or more motor vehicles. It also involves pedestrian or cyclist accidents. Car accidents are a common occurrence in day-to-day life. Although it is a reality, most of us do not expect to be a victim of one. Some of us contact the insurance and consider it enough to pay the loss. But reaching your insurance company is not enough.
Learn more about the different actions you can take after a car accident and what you need to avoid in that same scenario. Here are the steps.
Things you should do after a car accident
1) Call 911 for assistance immediately.
It is understandable that accidents can be so surprising that you could get confused about what to do when involved in them. But even in cases in which you do not feel any injuries, it is imperative to call 911 because some car accident injuries take hours and even days to manifest. Strongly consider reporting the accident to the police and getting medical assistance as soon after the accident as possible.
In the majority of states, you are legally obligated to report car accidents to law enforcement agencies or DMV within a set amount of time. If you bring the accident to their notice, they will help you file the accident by documenting all the relevant details for the potential lawsuit or an insurance claim.
2) Secure the scene of the accident
Road accidents not only harm the individuals involved, but they can also lead to traffic jams. That is why if your car is in OK condition and the injuries are minor, you can remove the vehicle from the road to reduce hazards to other drivers. However, before making any changes to the scene or removing any car, it is important to take pictures and videos of the accident scene. If you are severely injured, just call 911 and take care of your safety, the law enforcement will do their job.
3) Get information from the other side
It is very important to get the necessary details of the other driver, and the information should also be included in the police report. Because all your claims will be filed against the driver whose fault caused the accident, that person will be liable to pay for your car repairs, your medical bills, and other losses. You should take the following information from the other side;
- Driver’s Name
- Phone Number
- Insurance Company
- Policy Number
- Vehicle details
If you are not in a position to do so, call law enforcement to collect these details for you.
4) Document the details of the accident
If your injuries are minor and you are in a condition to take some further steps, try documenting the scene of the accident. You can take pictures of all the vehicles involved in the crash, the drivers and passengers affected by the collision, the losses to the vehicle, such as the broken glass, etc. You can also make videos of the same to document the details. These pictures, videos, and notes will assist you in handling any potential claim in the future.
5) Cooperate with the Law Enforcement
Law enforcement is there to help you. Therefore, it is necessary to cooperate with them. Whenever any accident occurs, immediately report it to the police. When they reach the scene, tell them the details of the accident. Remember, the report of law enforcement contains a lot of information, and it can help you in the insurance claim and a potential lawsuit against the other party.
6) Seek medical assistance right away
Car accident injuries can be complex and suddenly appear when you least expect them. As noted above, some injuries are visible, and some take hours and days to manifest. Again — whether you feel injured or not, it is imperative to get yourself checked by the medical team. It can be as simple as getting first aid or examining your body. Prompt medical attention is essential to ensure the treatment of serious injuries that may present in the near future.
7) Contact Your insurance company
Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible. If your injuries are minor, you can call them at the scene, and if not, you can inform them after getting home from the hospital. You will be asked to provide all relevant details and documentation about the accident; depending on your state and type of insurance, they may be responsible for paying part or all of the damages.
8) Talk to a personal injury attorney
Attorneys, especially those with expertise in dealing with car accidents, can add great value to your claim. Consider getting in touch with a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and to find ways to legally pursue your claim to obtain maximum compensation for the loss that occurred to you.
9) Keep all relevant records secured
There will always be a possibility that the claim may not settle, and you may have to file a personal injury lawsuit. In order to prove your claim, you have to provide concrete evidence. In this case, have a proper record of all the relevant information and be prepared for any action. Your report may include a police report, photos, videos, notes, conversation with the insurance company, medical treatment, repair estimates, etc. These will help you gain fair compensation for the loss that occurred to you in the future.
Things you should not do after a car accident
1) Do not neglect to seek immediate medical treatment
It is necessary to take immediate medical assistance because of two reasons. Firstly, some injuries from a car accident can take hours or days to manifest. Medical help will help you to keep a record of the injuries and to detect potential future injuries, and it will help you to claim compensation for the medical expenses. Secondly, if you do not seek immediate medical treatment, insurance companies are likely to use that against you when you make a claim. They will argue that you would have sought medical help if you were injured. Getting yourself examined as soon as possible is significant to prevent both negative implications on a potential personal injury lawsuit.
2) Do not talk to the insurance company without preparation
The opposite party’s insurance company will try to record your statement to be used in the future to reduce or deny your claim. This is why it is imperative to refuse to give them any statements before consulting your insurance company and your attorney. Insurance companies have different tactics to start a conversation and elicit information from you. After the accident, you may be in shock or not in a status to give a thoughtful response due to the pain of injuries, and the other party tries to exploit your situation. So avoid them and refuse to provide any statement.
3) Do not neglect to seek proper follow-up care
To avoid fair compensation, insurance companies use different strategies that work against you. One such case is the medical details. This is why you should be very careful in your follow-up. If there is any inconsistency, if you consult the wrong kind of doctor, or if a doctor fails to tie your injuries to the accident, the insurance companies will use that against you. As a result, you could be deprived of the fair compensation you deserve.
4) Do not wait for the insurance company to do the right thing
Sometimes, we trust the insurance companies and wait for them to take action. Remember, your interests do not align with their interests. Insurance companies want to limit their payouts, so you must take prompt action by preserving evidence, hiring an attorney, and taking other actions to secure your interest.
5) Do not take quick cash or lowball settlement offers
Insurance companies want to protect their financial interest, and their interest is to pay less. They will try to pay you in cash and exploit your condition, but you must remain careful and not accept any money. You have to take a stand for yourself and pursue your case; only then will you be able to secure a fair deal.
Being prepared for a car accident is extremely important since your actions and omissions after the incident will determine the outcome of a legal case of whether you will receive fair compensation for the harm and losses you have suffered. The comprehensive list of dos and don’ts provided above can help your path to secure fair compensation for yourself during your accident lawsuit.
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