The seconds before and after a car accident are often jarring and overwhelming. The moment you realize there’s nothing you can do to avoid another vehicle striking yours is the moment your body braces for impact. The actions you take after the crash, however, have more impact on your recovery than anything else.
If you’ve been involved in a crash that you didn’t cause, it’s important to know what to do—including at the scene of the collision and in the days and weeks after. Let’s take a look at how you can protect yourself and your future after an accident.
Evaluate the Accident Scene
Initially after an accident, it’s normal to experience an array of emotions very quickly. Depending on the circumstances, you may not even immediately process what has happened. Once you’ve realized you’ve been in a crash, remember to breathe and try to focus your thoughts. Remaining as clear-headed as possible will help you more in the long run.
Once you’ve taken a moment to compose yourself, start evaluating the scene. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Determine if the other driver is still present at the scene—they should be, as fleeing the scene would be considered a hit-and-run. If you can, speak with them. While you’ll want to avoid talking about accident specifics, you should trade contact and insurance information.
If possible, document the accident scene. Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles, as well as pictures of your injuries and the weather and road conditions. When you go to file a claim, those photographs will give the adjuster a better idea of what happened and why.
Contact Emergency Responders
When an accident results in significant property damage, injuries, or fatalities, you need to notify the police. If possible, call 911 at the accident scene. Emergency responders and the police will arrive to help.
The responding officer will make a police report documenting the facts present to them at the scene, as well as collect witness statements, and make a fault determination. The insurance company will use the police report when they are making any decisions regarding compensation.
Seek Medical Attention
Depending on the extent and visibility of your injuries, there’s a chance you could be injured and not even know it. That’s one of the reasons it’s imperative to seek medical attention after an accident. Not only will any injuries be treated in a prompt fashion, but you’ll also have an idea of what you’re looking at in terms of recovery.
Another important reason to seek medical attention after a car accident is so there’s an accurate record of the injuries and pain you’ve suffered. When you go to file an insurance claim, that information will be proof of your injuries and give the adjuster an idea of what type of compensation you deserve and need to put the accident behind you.
Notify Your Insurer
Once you’ve sought medical attention and know that you are safe from any further complications for the moment, it’s time to get in touch with your insurer. You’ll need to report the accident and provide them with the other driver’s information.
It’s important to be careful with the words you use when you speak to the adjuster. Remember that their goal is to provide you with the smallest settlement possible. If you make a comment about how you’re feeling “fine” or you’re sorry the accident happened, they could use your words against you to claim you’re not suffering as much as you claim or that you’re responsible for what happened.
Contact an Attorney
If you’re in the process of dealing with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and unexpected financial losses after an accident, it can be challenging to add a personal injury claim on top of that. In order to maximize your chances of recovering and put yourself on the path to receiving full and fair compensation for your losses, it’s important to get in touch with a lawyer.
When you hire a lawyer from Prince Law Firm, you won’t have to worry about the legal aspects of your situation. Your attorney will keep you fully informed of how your case is proceeding while ensuring you understand your legal rights and options every step of the way.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and aren’t sure how to proceed, schedule a case evaluation with our firm today. We’ll review what you’ve been through and provide you with open and honest legal advice. Contact us today to learn more.
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