WHAT IS THE FIRST THING I SHOULD DO AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know how harrowing and stressful the situation is. Emotions are running high, there’s a good chance that at least someone is seriously injured, and you are probably in an unsafe situation if your vehicle is disabled in the middle of the road. And yet, there are still some important things you need to do after your accident, even when things seem to be at their worst.
Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
When you’re involved in a car accident, the first thing to remember is to stay where you are. Fleeing the scene of an accident is called a hit-and-run, and it can carry some harsh legal consequences. Remain on the scene until you know it’s okay to leave.
Make Sure Everyone Involved is Okay
Before you assess any property damage, you will need to make sure that everyone involved in the accident is okay. Serious injuries are common in these situations, so seek medical attention for yourself or others whenever necessary. Since you shouldn’t be leaving the scene for any reason until you are told that you can, wait where you are for an ambulance to arrive.
Call the Police
If you are able to call the police and you know that nobody has yet, make the call. This is especially important if there is significant property damage or a serious injury since a police report will need to be filed. Once again, wait where you are for the police to arrive.
Exchange All Relevant Information
You are probably aware that you will need to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved in an accident, but you should also be ready to provide your name, address, driver’s license number, and license plate of your vehicle. You should also receive this information from everyone else involved in the accident. You’ll never know when you will need to contact them.
One thing you should never do is say anything that could incriminate you. Calmly report what happened during the accident to the authorities, but hold off on saying anything that could indicate that it was your fault. It could turn out that you weren’t at fault after all, but it will be much harder to determine that if you mention how you ran a red light or weren’t paying attention while you were driving.
Contact Your Insurance Agency
Finally, the last thing you need to do before you leave the scene of an accident is to contact your insurance agency to report what happened. Give them a full report of the accident, and inform them of any injuries you may have suffered. Try to obtain a copy of the police report any other information you might need. The more information you have, the easier it will be to file an insurance claim.
Contacting an Personal Injury Lawyer
Not all accidents will result in an injury. If you’re lucky, the worst that could happen is that you and the other driver suffer some property damage. If you believe that you are injured, contact an personal injury lawyer near you. A good lawyer can maximize a settlement and aid in your recovery or defend you if you are at fault.
You should also be wary of any early settlements that an insurance company may offer you. Injuries that occur in an accident might not show up until days or even weeks after your accident, so you should make sure that you have received proper treatment before a settlement is reached.
Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, which means that they will only receive payment if you receive a settlement. Different personal injury attorneys have different specialties, so make sure you look around for one that suits your needs. Even if your injuries are minor, you may still require the services of an injury lawyer, so don’t hesitate to find one before you need one.
A car accident is definitely one of the most stressful things that can happen to you, especially if it results in a serious injury. If you are involved in an accident, don’t panic. Keep a cool head, and remember what to do immediately after the accident to keep yourself safe.