What Should You Do Immediately After a Car Accident. Most people like to believe they will never get into a car accident. But even if you’re an excellent driver, the odds are still against you. In fact, more than six million car accidents happen every year.
If you do find yourself the victim of a crash brought on by another person’s recklessness or negligence, you do have the right to file a suit seeking compensation for your damages. But, according to professional firms like Craig Swapp & Associates, your chances of finding success greatly hinge on the steps you take immediately after the collision.
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. But if you want to stand the best possible chance of collecting compensation for any damages sustained, you need to follow the steps outlined in the guide below.
3 Steps to Take in the Aftermath of a Car Crash
1. Call the Police & Assess the Damage
First, check that all the parties involved are conscious and able to move around. If everyone is alright, ensure the spot in which you crashed is safely out of the way of ongoing traffic. You shouldn’t move your vehicle from the site of the crash, but if you’re in the middle of a busy road, set up some road flares and hazard signs. Also, put on your vehicle’s hazard’s lights — this will alert other drivers to the situation.
Next, call 911 and let them know you were involved in a car accident. Give them your location and ask for a police officer to come to the scene. While waiting for the officer, survey the damage to your vehicle, as well as the other driver’s car. Take pictures of any notable damage, as well as of the surrounding area. Additionally, if you sustained any injuries, take pictures of those, as well.
2. Provide Your Statement & Request Medical Attention
Once the police arrive, they’ll collect statements from all parties involved in the crash, as well as any eyewitnesses that were present for the collision. When speaking with the police, avoid using statements like “I’m sorry,” or “I didn’t see them coming.” Even if you weren’t responsible for the accident, these kinds of statements could be leveraged against you later during the legal proceedings in an attempt to pass some of the liability onto you.
Once you’ve spoken with the police, request medical attention. You should do this even if you don’t feel seriously injured, as the medical documents will prove to be a crucial piece of evidence down the line when putting together your case. After your medical assessment, request a copy of all related documents.
3. Contact an Attorney for Representation
As soon as you’ve left the scene of the accident, you should begin seeking a personal injury lawyer for representation. Chances are, the other party’s insurance company will begin trying to contact you as soon as possible, and you don’t want to speak to them without legal representation.
These insurance reps will often try to find ways to make it seem as though you were partially (if not fully) responsible for the accident. They’ll do this to try and find ways to avoid paying for their party’s damages. Or, if they are unable to do this, they’ll try to find ways to diminish the value of your claim. Once you have a lawyer secured, you can simply direct the insurance adjusters to contact your attorney with all questions pertaining to the case.
Although it can be difficult to stay calm and collected after an accident, it’s crucial to do so. By following these tips, you’ll stand a better chance of filing a successful personal injury claim.