After you’ve been in an accident, it can be hard to figure out what to do next. You may be wondering if you need to call the police, whether you should exchange insurance information with the other driver, or if you should keep driving until you reach your destination and then get your car checked out by a mechanic. This guide will show you exactly what to do after a car accident in 10 steps. That said, no matter what kind of situation you find yourself in, your situation will be much better afterward than it was before.
1) Call 911 if Injured
If you’re injured in an accident, call 911. Some of these injuries can’t be seen right away and aren’t easily self-diagnosed. Your life could be in danger without emergency treatment. You should also get medical attention for your car accident injuries even if you don’t think they’re that bad at first. You can always have them checked out later if it turns out you don’t need treatment.
2) Get Yourself Out of Danger
If you’re in your car when an accident occurs, pull yourself out of danger. If you’re not driving, make sure those behind you are safe and that nobody else is in danger from whatever has occurred. Then stay clear. Even if an accident was not your fault, it can still be unsafe for you to move around or approach an angry or panicked driver. Once you’ve pulled yourself out of danger and established that others are also okay, take down as much information as possible about what happened. In most cases, there will be little physical evidence (such as skid marks) at a car accident scene.
3) Get Assurance From Witnesses
If you’ve just been in an accident, your first concern should be yourself and your safety. If possible, make sure that no one is injured. Next, look around and make sure that there are witnesses—this will help if you decide to go with an auto accident lawyer later on. When it comes time for insurance claims, having someone vouch for what happened will improve your chances of getting coverage. Make sure they take down information like their contact information and vehicle information; give them yours as well so they can follow up with any other details later on. You also want to look for surveillance video from nearby buildings or cars—this will help corroborate your story should anyone need proof of what happened when filing paperwork down the line.
4) Get Insurance Information
Make sure you get contact information from everyone involved in or witnesses to your accident. Get full names, phone numbers, and insurance information. If someone is injured, do not leave them alone until they have been taken care of by a medical professional. Can’t get insurance information for everyone involved? Make sure to take pictures of license plates and vehicle damage. You should also keep receipts from any repair work done on your car if it was damaged in an accident. In most cases, you’ll be able to obtain insurance information from police officers that arrive at the scene of an accident.
5) Call Your Auto Insurance Company First Thing the Next Morning
The longer you wait, and/or if you don’t file at all, your insurance provider might argue that you are attempting to defraud them or otherwise take advantage of them. Automobile insurance is not optional. You have no choice but to purchase it because of state law. If you get into an accident and don’t report it, your carrier can fine you for it and still be able to deny your claim. After a car accident, you want to give yourself every opportunity possible under the law by filing an auto insurance claim as soon as possible. This allows you will have prompt medical treatment and vehicle repairs.
6) Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
Most car accidents involve some injury, and you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if your injuries seem minor and you don’t think you need treatment immediately, go for it anyway. You could have something very minor that’s healing or even just an abrasion that can easily be taken care of by a doctor before it gets infected. The sooner your get treated, the better off you’ll be in terms of recovery time and pain management.
7) Tell Your Attorney What Happened
It may be wise to contact an auto accident lawyer, if you were injured in an auto accident. The majority of car insurance policies will not cover injuries that occur more than 30 days after an accident occurs. When filing for compensation for pain and suffering, your attorney needs accurate records as soon as possible. It is vital that you disclose every aspect of what happened so your attorney can best determine how to move forward with legal action.
8) File an Auto Insurance Claim as Soon as Possible
In most cases, you can file an auto insurance claim with your own insurer immediately following an accident. This is how much of a difference car insurance lawyers make. They help determine whether it was your fault or not. In some cases, victims are only given a 24-hour window before they can no longer file claims. However, if you are concerned about contacting your insurer because you believe it was not your fault (or both parties were at fault), find and contact local auto accident lawyers as soon as possible. There’s nothing like outside legal counsel on these matters, who will work directly with insurers on all damage payouts.
9) Choose Your Personal Injury Lawyer Carefully
When you’ve been in an accident, choosing your auto accident lawyer carefully is key. While your insurance will likely assign you, someone, at random, there are lots of ways to find personal injury lawyers that can help you get better deals and legal representation. With an understanding of what you want out of a car accident attorney, how much experience they have, and how aggressive they will be with your case, it’s easier than ever to find one that meets your needs. In addition, follow these steps after an auto accident so that you’re ready if something does happen.
10) Stay Organized Throughout The Process
Just like anything else, you need to keep yourself organized throughout your legal case. That means documenting everything from when your accident happened and keeping track of any medical bills that arise from your injuries. It also means taking notes on any conversations you have with other parties involved in your case, including police officers and insurance adjusters. You should also write down details about your car insurance policy, including what type of coverage you have. If you don’t know these details offhand, now is an excellent time to review them with your car insurance provider so you can be prepared if or when something happens in the future.
The Bottom Line: What To Do After A Car Accident
Seeking legal advice and filing a claim for personal injury protection should be your top priority. A car accident attorney can also tell you about other types of claims that you may want to file for, such as property damage or pain and suffering. After you’ve spoken with an attorney, make sure that you’re safe at the scene of an accident by calling emergency services if necessary and assessing your physical condition.