What should I do immediately after an accident?
Auto accidents are typically stressful times. However, there are steps you can take following an auto accident to protect yourself in the future. Below are some things you should do if you are involved in an accident.
While most people are a bit rattled after an accident, it is important to stay calm and access the situation. If you or anyone else is injured, call 911 for an ambulance and wait patiently for them to arrive. Never leave the scene of an accident for any reason, as this is a criminal offense.
Preserve The Crash Site
It is important to preserve the crash scene for police officers who will come and make a report. If you have orange cones or flares set them around the scene, so other drivers can avoid the area. If possible, turn on your vehicle’s flashers as well.
Get The Other Driver’s Information
Obtain the information of the other driver involved in the crash such as name, phone number, insurance information and drivers license number. If the other persons vehicle is registered in someone else’s name, be sure to ask the name and relationship of that person. In most cases, the responding police officer obtains this information. If possible, get the number of the police report for later reference.
Take Pictures At The Scene
Almost everyone has a cell phone that will take pictures. This is a valuable tool when it comes to documenting the scene of an automobile accident. Take pictures of both vehicles involved and any injuries you have suffered, as well. Be sure to stay out of the way of police officers investigating the accident. If necessary, wait until they are finished to take pictures.
Notify Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, notify your insurance company of your accident. Many policies only pay when you report promptly and cooperate in every way. Give your insurance company the police report number and the name of the insurance company for the other driver.
Don’t Admit Fault
Emotions run high right after an accident, but it is critical that you do not say anything that can be used against you later in court. Even if you feel like the accident may be your fault or partially your fault, do not admit that to anyone. This includes the other driver, your passengers or the responding officers.
Get Medical Help
Even if you do not feel seriously injured, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident. This is essential even if you think your accident was low impact. Most people find they have increased pain for 72 hours after an accident, especially in cases of injuries involving the neck and back. Be sure to keep records of all diagnostic tests and medication you are given at the hospital.
After an accident, you will likely have bills that will add up fast. Be sure to keep copies of any:
- Ambulance Bills
- Emergency Room Fees
- Doctor Bills
- Therapy Costs
- Bills For Medical Devices
- Proof Of Transportation Costs Such As Rental Cars Or Gas Bills
Speak With A Lawyer
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can evaluate your case and form a plan of action. This is especially important if you have severe injuries or if you are disabled as a result of the accident. A lawyer may also be helpful if the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to pay or won’t make a reasonable settlement for your injuries. Personal injury lawyers have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies, so they can obtain the best possible settlement for their clients. Having a lawyer to protect your interests can increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve after an accident.