Nobody ever wants to be involved in a car accident. Statistically speaking, however, many drivers will be involved in at least one motor vehicle accident during their lifetimes.
Auto accidents can be frightening and nerve-wracking, so knowing ahead of time what steps to take after the collision can help you feel more prepared if, and when, the unexpected occurs.
Immediately After the Accident
After the impact of a crash, you should leave your car where it is and wait for emergency personnel. Turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers. Put your car in “park” and turn off the engine.
You may also want to check on the occupants of the other vehicle(s) to see if they’re OK, but remember to be careful when exiting your vehicle, to make sure you’re not walking into oncoming traffic.
When you’re in a safe place and able to do so, call 911 to report the accident. Even if you don’t think the accident was serious, calling the police will trigger a police report, which will be helpful when dealing with insurance companies.
Documenting the Accident
If you have the presence of mind and are able to do so, taking pictures with your cellphone can help document the accident for the insurance claim.
It’s also a good idea to document as much information as possible, including the name(s) and contact information for the other driver(s), their insurance information, contact information of any witnesses, license plate numbers and information about the accident itself. Much (if not all) of this information will be captured on the police report, so be sure to ask for a copy of that document.
While you should be honest and complete in your statements to the police, don’t make any statements admitting liability. Even if you think you were partially to blame, stating that could give the other driver’s insurance company a reason to deny your car accident injury claim.
Seek Medical Attention
Accidents can cause injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. For that reason, even if you feel OK, you should be seen by a medical professional. If you’re given a treatment plan and instructions for follow-up appointments, be sure to follow those instructions.
In the Hours and Days After the Accident
It is important not to provide a recorded statement unless you have had an opportunity to consult an attorney first. Once you have, you’ll need to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as you’re able. A claims representative will ask you a series of questions and will review your coverages with you. Your insurance company will also give you guidance and next steps regarding evaluating the damage to your vehicle.
Involving an Auto Accident Attorney
If you were injured because of the accident, it’s also a good idea to contact an experienced car accident injury attorney.
While you may be offered compensation from an insurance company to settle the claim, keep in mind that the insurance company has one goal in mind: closing the case with as little cost as possible. When you accept the initial settlement amount, you might end up being undercompensated for your injuries.
When you work with a car accident injury lawyer, he or she will fight to help you obtain the compensation you’re entitled to receive.
File These Steps Away for Future Reference
These steps and tips should come in handy if you’re ever involved in an auto accident. While it’s natural to be flustered after an accident happens, knowing what you should do can help make the process easier to handle.
If you have been injured in a car accident, the knowledgeable, experienced accident and injury lawyers at The Olive Law Firm are here to help. In many cases, reaching out to a trusted personal injury attorney should be one of the first steps you take. Doing so can help protect your rights.
Contact us online or call 704-377-9222 to schedule a free initial consultation with an accident injury lawyer.