A car accident can be a very stressful event. Depending on the accident’s severity, you may be dealing with property damage, injuries, and even the death of a loved one. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that there were over six million car accidents in the US in 2017 alone. This only means that vehicular accidents are common, and it’s essential to be prepared if you find yourself in one.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are specific things you need to do to ensure that you’re protected. Here are eight things to remember after a car accident:
Check for injuries and seek medical attention if necessary
In any car accident, the first priority is always safety. Check to see if you or your passengers have sustained any injuries. If you or someone around you is injured, go to a hospital or doctor as soon as possible. Injuries that may seem minor can sometimes be more severe than they appear, so it’s always better to get them checked out by a professional just in case. Take the time to ask everyone if they’re feeling okay and if they need any medical assistance.
Get the contact and insurance information of the other driver
The next thing to do is to exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to get their name, contact information, and insurance information. It’s essential to have this information in case you need to file a claim with their insurance company. You should also take down the license plate number of the other vehicle involved. Do not leave the scene of the accident until you have this information.
Get an attorney if necessary
A trusted lawyer by your side can be invaluable after a car accident. In some cases, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney to help you with the claims process and to ensure that you are fairly compensated for any damages.
However, the type of attorney you need will differ according to the kind of injury you sustained. For instance, if you’ve suffered a brain injury, you’ll need to seek out a brain injury attorney. Your lawyer will help you navigate the complex legal process and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
File a police report
If the car accident is serious, you should always file a police report. This is important for insurance purposes and will also create a document of what happened if you need to take legal action. The police report will contain information about the other driver, any witnesses to the accident, and the circumstances surrounding the crash.
Do not admit fault
After the accident, the other driver may try to get you to admit fault for the collision. However, it’s important not to do this. In many cases, it’s not immediately clear who is at fault for an accident. Once you’ve admitted fault, it can be difficult to later prove that you were not responsible.
If you have a camera or phone with you, take pictures of the accident scene. This will provide valuable evidence of what happened. Include photos of the damage to both vehicles as well as any injuries that were sustained.
Gather evidence at the scene
In addition to taking pictures, other types of evidence can be gathered at the accident scene. This includes the contact information of witnesses, the name and badge number of the responding police officer, and any documentation from the other driver. Try to gather as much evidence as possible, as this will be helpful later on if you need to file an insurance claim or take legal action. Be sure to get all of this information before you leave the accident scene.
Contact your insurance company
After you’ve taken care of the immediate aftermath of the accident, you should contact your insurance company. They will need to know about the accident to begin processing your claim. Even if you don’t plan on filing a claim, it’s still a good idea to notify your insurer about the accident. Tell them what happened, and provide them with the evidence you gathered.
Keep track of your expenses related to the accident
Lastly, it’s essential to keep track of any costs that are related to the accident. This would include things like medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and lost wages if you had to miss work. Be sure to save all receipts and documentation so that you can be reimbursed for your losses.
The bottom line
These are eight important things to remember after a car accident. By following these steps, you can protect yourself and your rights. If you have any questions, be sure to speak with an attorney who specializes in car accident cases and can give you specific advice for your situation.