Automobile accidents can happen to anyone. However, choosing to make the wrong decision after an accident can turn a rough situation even worse. And the reality is that making a wrong decision after an accident can result in paying for damage caused by someone else and receiving the compensation you deserve. To ensure you do not make poor decisions after an automobile accident, it is important to follow these simple guidelines.
What to Do After an Automobile Accident
Dial 9-1-1 to Report an Accident
The most significant thing to remember when you have been involved in an automobile accident is to call 911 and to stay at the scene. And if you can, safely move your car from the road to the shoulder. Reporting an automobile accident & obtaining the official police accident report is an important step that should NOT be missed, especially if you seek help from an attorney to help your legal claim.
While on the scene, the police will investigate and help file an incident report. Be certain to ask for a copy which can be instrumental in helping settle insurance claims or a personal injury lawsuit.
Seek Medical Attention If Injured
If the driver or passengers have been injured, it is important not to move while waiting for emergency services to arrive at the accident scene. After an accident, with adrenaline flowing, an injury may not even be noticed or only slightly painful until some time has passed, and nerves calmed.
If need be, head to the hospital to get checked out, and be sure to save medical bill receipts and ask for copies of films taken during your exam.
Document Everything & More
Documenting the entire accident scene is critical and starts with trading information with the other driver(s). Fortunately, a cellphone is usually on hand, which allows you to document the accident scene by photograph or video. Include close-up shops of vehicle damage and injuries, plus the directions of each vehicle, license plates, traffic patterns, weather, time of day, potential witness contact information, and roadway debris. This documented data is often essential to receive optimal compensation on a claim for a car accident.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It is important to contact your insurer but be cautious about what you say in this initial report. When asking for a recorded statement, insurance companies will seek to minimize claims to maximize profits for shareholders. Therefore, it is likely that they will use your own words to limit their payout on your claim. As such, it is essential to speak with a qualified attorney to determine if they can help with your legal claim.
Speak With an Automobile Accident Attorney
After an automobile accident, an experienced attorney can help with your legal claim and handle all communications.
What You Shouldn’t Do After an Automobile Accident
Leave The Scene
An accident scene becomes a crime scene if you leave the location of the accident.
Choose Not to Call 911
Many believe that 911 should be called only if there are injuries. This is incorrect as the police can help establish the facts of the situation. In addition, the police can help move vehicles blocking traffic and direct a traffic jam caused by the accident to avoid another accident.
Sign Anything with Your Insurance Carrier
Insurers may try to make a quick offer for what they consider a fair claim value. Never sign a release before speaking with a licensed attorney, as you may unknowingly give up your rights to further compensation.
Accidents happen quickly, so it is important you have all the facts before admitting fault. Even an apology can be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
Underestimate Your Injuries
After an automobile accident, an injury may only be slightly painful, that is until some time has passed, and the effects of the adrenaline have worn off. What was thought to be a minor injury can turn into a severe injury. A doctor can help document injuries that may be helpful in a lawsuit.
Speak To the Other Party’s Insurance Company
Insurance companies reach out to individuals soon after the accident because most people are vulnerable at that time. Without an attorney representing your interests and helping determine the value of your claim, an insurance company will seek to settle for less than a fair amount.
An auto accident can shake even the most unshakable people. To protect your interests, it is important to contact a lawyer who understands how to make the best of a challenging situation.