Car accidents are shocking, stressful events. Even a minor accident can leave you a little shaken, stressed and unsure of your next move. The steps you take after the accident are very important and can have a huge impact on your medical and financial life.
So, what steps should you take after a car accident? Should you say sorry and try to settle with the other car owner? Or, should you call your lawyer?
Well, no one expects to get involved in an accident. Most people also think that they know what to do next. It is not until they hit or get hit by another motorist does reality set in.
But as you try to wrap your head around the incident, there are some vital tips that you should not forget.
Check for injuries
The most important consideration after an accident is your safety and the safety of others. After the accident;
– Keep calm, don’t lash out- it can definitely work against you in such an intense situation. It is quite difficult to manage such a situation when emotions and adrenaline are running high. Just take a deep breath, pray, count to ten, – whatever will help you calm your racing heart.
– Next, make sure everyone in your car is okay and that they are not injured. After ensuring that you and your passengers are fine, you can then proceed to check with the other driver.
Note; it is important to call 911 even if no one has visible injuries. Due to the shock and high adrenaline levels you might not notice some injuries immediately. They might end up showing a few days or weeks later when they are worse.
However, never move an injured person as this can cause additional injuries unless they are in a life-threatening situation.
Take some pictures
Use your phone’s camera, or any other disposable camera to capture some pictures of the situation. Take the photos from different angles, not forgetting to show broken glass and skid marks on the ground. Remember to get pictures of the location of the incident. ( Stop signs, yield signs, speed limit signs, intersections, road conditions, etc. )
You can also take some notes of what just happened. Most people think that they will recall everything. But since a car accident case may end up taking weeks or even a few months to resolve, always jot down some notes of the most important details of the crash.
Even for minor accidents make sure you alert the authorities. They will sort you out through the process. During this time you can move your car out of the traffic as you wait for the police to arrive.
Note: Avoid admitting fault even if you think that you caused the accident. Admittance of fault can be used against you and invalidate any compensation from the accident.
Exchange contact info
Get the contacts of the driver who hit you and any passengers and witnesses around. You can ask for their names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance information. But do not discuss the incident with them.
Ask the other driver if they are the registered car owner. If they are not, try to find out the owner’s information. If possible, get pictures of the driver’s license and insurance card of the other driver.
Do not speak to the other parties’ insurance company until you speak to your own and file the claim. The scene of an accident is not a calm environment to be making statements to insurance companies. Wait until you are in a different environment.
Seek legal help
If there is significant damage to your vehicle, you or the passengers of your vehicle have injuries, or insurance companies are not being cooperative, it is time to get yourself a lawyer to help with the car crash case. Lawyers can also help you when you have to make a compensation claim to an insurance company.
Personal injury attorneys are well versed in how insurance companies operate, what the different insurance policies cover, and how to navigate the paperwork involved in settling insurance claims. You have a right to fair compensation for property loss, work time loss, injury, and medical bills.
When these factors are involved, it is a good idea to hire an attorney to represent you.
Don’t live in fear of driving. The most important thing is knowing how to deal with a car accident, should it occur, and the steps to take.