After a Car Accident: First Steps

What should you do in case you are involved in a car crash? It’s possible to sustain serious injuries and emotional trauma. There are some important things you can do immediately after an accident. Here is a list of things to do after an accident. This helpful pamphlet can be printed and kept in your car.

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Stay on the Scene

You should never leave an accident scene unless it is necessary. You could face severe criminal penalties if you drive away, especially if someone is injured or killed.

Verify All Passengers and Drivers

Before you assess property damage, ensure everyone involved is OK. Anyone who is injured or ill should seek medical attention. If someone is in pain or unconscious, do not move them until you have qualified medical attention.

Contact the police

You should call the police if there is significant property damage, injury or death. In the event that cops arrive on the scene, ask for a police report and the names and badge numbers the responding officers.

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Exchange Information

All drivers involved should be able to provide basic information such as their names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, plate numbers, and drivers’ license numbers. Also, get the names, addresses, and numbers of any passengers if there are. Talk to other drivers and be friendly.

You shouldn’t apologize for any incident. If you apologize for something, such as running a red light, it is not acceptable. Is everyone okay?” You may be admitting to legal responsibility for the accident. It is possible that it may not be immediately clear who was responsible or who was primarily to blame for an accident. In many states, fault doesn’t necessarily mean that an insurer will pay for any losses. You should not admit guilt if you don’t have to.

Talk to witnesses

Ask each witness what he/she saw. If possible, get their names, addresses, and numbers. Ask the locals if there have been any other accidents at the same location.

Inform Your Insurance Company

Tell your insurance company immediately that you were in an accident. Tell them what happened and how severe your injuries were. Be clear about the facts. You could be in serious trouble if the insurance company discovers that you have lied about any facts. You should obtain and review all police reports so that you can identify who violated traffic laws or who was responsible.

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Keep track of your medical treatment

Notify any doctors, chiropractors or other medical professionals you see, as well as each caregiver who referred you. Keep track of all the medications and treatments you have received. Request copies of all bills and medical reports to help prove your medical expenses.

While medical expenses are easy to document, pain and suffering can be more difficult to prove. Keep track of the impact your injuries have had on your daily life. You should include missed workdays and any other routine activities that you are unable to do. Also, describe how injuries have affected your family’s life.

Take pictures

Photograph any damage to your car as soon as possible following an accident. Photos can be used to help your attorney and your insurance adjuster decide how much you should receive for your vehicle’s damage. Photos of your car prior to the accident can be a great way to “compare and contrast”, which will help you see the extent of the damage.

Get a property damage valuation

Get your insurance company’s damage appraisal. Don’t lose heart if your insurance company doesn’t value your vehicle as you would like. Ask for two estimates of repair or replacement. Tell the adjuster about your concerns. You can either agree to the car’s worth or seek mediation.

Talk with caution about the incident

Talk about the accident only with your lawyer, your insurer, and the police. Your attorney or insurer should know that you are not allowed to speak with representatives from any other insurance company. Be polite if you are called by another insurance company. However, ask them to contact your lawyer or insurer to schedule an interview. Inform your lawyer or insurance company about the call.

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Be wary of early settlement offers

If you are offered a settlement by an insurance company, be careful. Verify that all of your injuries have been properly treated. Some injuries may not show up immediately or cause the greatest discomfort for several weeks or months. Do not settle a claim until your injuries are fully covered. Before signing any settlement documents, consult an attorney.

Hire an attorney

It is best to speak with an attorney if anyone has been injured in an accident. An attorney can help maximize your recovery if someone is injured, or to defend you if you are at fault. Most accident lawyers work on a contingent fee basis. This means that you only pay a fee if you are awarded damages or settle. Get in touch with an experienced attorney to learn more.

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