When you’re engaged in a car accident, there are specific steps you are required to take to ensure everyone is safe, abides by the law, and most importantly, get the insurance claim process started.
However, in the critical moments following a crash, you often find it hard to think clearly and do what’s necessary. Because of the trauma and shock that you experience, many drivers make mistakes that limit their right to obtain the compensation they deserve from insurance companies and the other people responsible for the accident.
Below are four key steps you must take both on the crash scene and the days after the car accident.
1. Stay At The Scene & Report The Incident
If you’re engaged in a car accident, and it’s your fault, the first thing that might come to your mind is to leave the scene. It’s a traumatic event, and you know that crashes are costly. However, you should never leave the scene of the accident (even if it’s a minor one) so you don’t end up facing some serious charges like a hit and run.
The best thing to do is to stay and call the authorities so you can report the incident. If you’re able, move your car off the road. Reporting the crash and getting an official police report from the authorities is important. The police will start an investigation as soon as they arrive on the spot, which can help when it comes to settlements or personal injury lawsuits.
2. Get Emergency Medical Treatment
As soon as you report the accident, emergency medical services will arrive at the scene along with the local police. In the aftermath of a high-impact collision, it’s essential to seek medical attention right away, even if you’re not experiencing visible pain or injuries.
A car accident can lead to all sorts of injuries, including the following: Common damages resulting from car accidents may include:
- Bruises, cuts, and scrapes.
- Concussion or other types of head injury. A concussion or further head injury
- Broken bones.
- Strains or sprains.
You should see a doctor if you suffered a concussion as a result of the accident. Remember that concussion symptoms don’t appear right away after the collision. But if you felt dazed or stunned following the crash, then you may be concussed. The same goes for other injuries resulting from a car accident.
If left untreated or ignored, these injuries may lead to permanent damage, chronic pain, loss of mobility, or worse, death.
3. Document The Accident
The more you document the accident, the better it is for you regarding injury settlements. Take images of the incident scene with your phone’s camera, making sure to incident scene capture the full extent of the damage. Take photos of the cars and the passengers who were injured. Also, don’t forget to write down the people’s personal information involved in the crash.
It’s also best to collect contact information from witnesses who saw the accident and take their statements. If people are willing to give their statements, it can help your attorney from Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm establish a case against the other driver.
4. Notify Your Insurance Company
The next thing to do is to notify your insurance company. What you report to them, however, should be handled with caution. Remember that insurance companies aim to minimize the compensation you can receive from them. They will even use what you say against you to limit the amount you will receive after making a claim.
As a result, you should always seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney while dealing with these issues. Unlike insurance companies, these legal professionals always have your best interests in mind. Your lawyer is going to ensure that your rights are well-protected. Also, hiring an attorney can guide you throughout the whole process and ensure that you are making the proper steps from start to finish.
Whether it’s a minor or major accident, a car crash always has long-lasting effects that’ll probably haunt you for the rest of your life—as such, taking the proper steps in the aftermath of an accident is essential so that you can protect your rights. Be prepared for what’s going to happen. Be sure to report the incident, seek medical attention right away, document the scene, and gather important evidence and information.
Finally, find a qualified car accident lawyer that is willing to fight for your rights so you can get the compensation you deserve.