Personal vehicles like cars and SUVs have completely changed our way of life, allowing us to cover huge distances in a matter of minutes and enjoy incredible freedoms that weren’t afforded to the people of the past.
At the same time, even with all of the amazing advancements in technology in the automobile industry, cars are still very dangerous, with literally millions of accidents happening on America’s roads every single year.
These accidents can lead to serious injuries and even fatalities in many cases, and even those who drive safely and sensibly can find themselves involved in an accident due to the reckless actions of others or a moment of inattention on their own part.
This is why it’s so important to know what to do if and when an accident happens. Many people can panic and make mistakes in these kinds of situations, and understandably so, but following the right steps will help you get the best possible outcome for yourself and your passengers.
Medical Attention Is Always the Priority
Before you start thinking about getting a car accident attorney or dealing with your insurance company, the priority after an accident needs to be your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of anyone else involved in the accident. This is especially important in serious cases where people may require urgent hospitalization and care.
In relatively minor accidents, you may not feel any symptoms right away and can feel well enough to get out of the car, speak with the other driver, and so on. However, even in these situations, it’s still wise to visit a doctor as soon as possible, as many car accident injuries won’t show their symptoms right away, and getting the care you need is vital for a full recovery.
Document the Scene and Report the Incident
If you’re able to do so, it’s strongly recommended to try and document the site of your accident too. This means getting safely out of the car and away to the side of the road or another safe area, and then using your phone or camera to take photos of the scene, making sure to photograph any damage to the cars involved, the surrounding area, and any injuries too.
By documenting the accident, you’ll essentially be gathering evidence that can be of great use later on if you need to argue your case in order to get the best possible result on your insurance claim, or if the case ends up going to court. It’s also recommended to contact the police and make an official report of the incident too.
Exchanging Information and Contacting Your Insurance Company
One of the first things to do after an accident is also to speak with the other driver or drivers involved in the incident and make sure to get their insurance information. You’ll need this later on, and it’s also recommended to try and get some extra information too, like their car make and model, their contact details, their name, and their license plate, as some drivers may provide false details.
You should then call your insurance company and report the incident. It’s important not to say too much here, however, as anything you say could be used against you later on to reduce the value of your claim or even invalidate your claim, especially if you admit to responsibility or guilt in causing the accident.
Contact an Attorney
Many people wonder if they need a lawyer after an auto accident, and the truth of the matter is that lawyers are often essential in terms of getting the result you want, as you can’t always count on insurance companies to simply payout and give you the compensation you feel that you deserve. Indeed, insurance adjusters have the job of trying to reduce payout amounts however they can.
Adjusters will be looking for ways to minimize the value of your claim, and it’s easy for people who aren’t familiar with this kind of situation to make mistakes. Having a lawyer on your side will be of great aid, as the lawyer will be able to tell you what to do, what to say, who to talk to, and so on, guiding you through the process and using evidence to back up your claims.
Being in an auto accident is never a pleasant experience, and it can get a lot worse if you fail to take the right action afterward. Follow these steps to get the best results.