You’ve just been in a car accident — now what?
It’s the kind of situation no one wants to experience, but it happens to tens of thousands of drivers around the country every day. Knowing what to do afterwards is not only about making it easier to deal with as it happens, but it could also make the difference between seeking compensation in the future and coming away empty-handed. To protect yourself, here are the six most important steps you should take right after an accident.
1. Dial 911 Immediately
Call the police. Although some will say it is optional, in reality, it is not. Without a police report, it is entirely your word against that of the other driver. That could create significant complications further down the road with any insurance claims you try to make. Additionally, if injuries occurred, it is vital to have a police presence on the scene as soon as possible.
2. Start the Process of Exchanging Information
After contacting the police, and assuming neither party needs immediate medical attention, take the time to exchange information with the other driver. Include your name, phone number, and any relevant info related to your insurer and policy. You should also obtain this information from the other driver. If tempers are running high, avoid confrontation. Again, a police presence will make this process simpler.
3. Thoroughly Document the Scene
Take photos of the crash site with your phone, including both vehicles and the specific damage. If you were hurt, you might wish to photograph yourself if you can do so. Include photos of the nearby scene to make it easier to explain later how the accident occurred.
4. Accept or Seek Out Medical Attention
If you are offered medical attention at the accident scene, do not decline it. An examination immediately after the accident produces essential records and documents relating to your condition. If you were to file a personal injury suit later, these initial assessments of your injuries could play an important role. If you don’t need medical attention at the crash site, you should still consider seeing your regular doctor to avoid complications from hidden injuries.
5. Be Polite but Avoid Any Statements of Fault
Try to avoid lengthy conversations with the other driver or any witnesses on the scene, and do not make comments about who was at fault in the crash. You should be especially careful to avoid making any statements that others could construe as an admission of fault or guilt. Should you say something that indicates you caused the crash, you may lose the opportunity to negotiate a settlement later.
6. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
Were you or a passenger injured in the crash? Some injuries, such as whiplash, may have a delayed onset following the accident. Reaching out to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible is advisable if you’ve been hurt. You will receive important info on how to proceed and what options you may have. Remember, the other driver’s insurance agency has a financial incentive to pay out as little as possible on their policies.
Find Help with Your Accident Case Today
At HHJ Trial Attorneys, our highly experienced team of litigators has a wealth of experience in handling car accident cases. If you’ve recently experienced an accident that has significantly impacted your life, a consultation with our team can reveal options you may not know you have. To discuss what happened during your accident and what help we provide in seeking compensation, please contact us today.
Testimonial from Alan, a car accident Victim
I was driving on the freeway when the traffic slowed down and someone rear-ended me going 50 or 60 mph. It felt like a bulldozer had just slammed into my head smashed into the steering wheel. It turned out that the other driver didn’t have insurance and I was stuck with all the medical bills on my own. After months of trying to get better by going to doctor after doctor, even my own insurance tried to downplay my injuries and said I wasn’t that hurt (even though my car was completely totaled!). A friend of mine told me I should call Adam Hepburn and that he would be able to fight for me. It was the best call I ever made. Adam immediately reassured me that I shouldn’t feel like the party in the wrong and that he would make sure my insurance company didn’t downplay my injuries. Adam fought against my insurance company for months and he got them to offer over 20 times what they offered when I spoke to them on my own. I don’t know how he did it but I would never go to anyone else other than Adam Hepburn and his team at HHJ. It’s the best outcome I could ever hope for and I feel like I have a group of amazing attorneys in my corner if I ever need them again in the future. Thank you!