Any driver who has been in a car accident knows that the experience can be jarring, confusing, stressful, and scary. Even low speed car crashes can cause a surprising amount of damage to both car and driver. After an automobile accident, the most important thing to do is remain calm. Immediately following an accident, you must take several steps to protect the possibility of a claim for your injuries or the damage to your car. To keep an accident claim viable, it is imperative to prove that the property damages and physical injuries came from the accident in question. For this reason, you need to document the accident as must as possible and act promptly to seek treatment if needed.
First and foremost, check the safety of yourself and your passengers. If you are able to move your vehicle to the roadside, do so immediately.
Next, call the local police and report the accident. In the event of a liability dispute, it may be helpful to have an accident report that was generated by the police. The police will also facilitate the exchange of insurance information among involved parties. If police do come to the scene, write down the name of the officer and the report or case number. If you are injured, inform the officer immediately. He or she will be able to call Emergency Medical Services so that anyone who is injured can be transported to the hospital.
Third, take pictures of the damage to your car, the other car involved, and the overall scene of the accident. If you decide to contact an car accident attorney, these pictures will help him or her to evaluate your case. Pictures of your car will also establish the damage that was done during the accident. If the at-fault party denies liability or describes the accident differently, pictures can also help show how the accident happened.
The next step is to speak with anyone in the area who has witnessed the accident. Make sure to get full names and contact information. Witnesses can often help corroborate important details about the accident. Attorneys who handle car accidents will contact witnesses to get statements about liability that can be used to bolster the case.
Following any car accident, it is crucial to seek treatment at an Emergency Room, Urgent Care Center, or with a primary care physician. People involved in car accidents often experience shock and don’t notice any injuries for several hours, or even days. Get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible to confirm that you are healthy. If you do notice any signs of pain or discomfort, see a doctor immediately. The longer you delay medical attention, the more difficult it becomes to claim that the injury is related to the accident. Insurance adjusters will question the cause of the injury or argue that the injuries were not substantial enough to need treatment.
After an auto accident, remain calm and remember the above steps to protect yourself from injury and to protect your potential insurance claim.