What to Do After a Car Accident
The moments following a car accident can be confusing and frantic, but it’s important to remember a few crucial details so you’re able to smoothly move forward. If possible, follow the guidelines below after an accident to ensure everyone involved is protected. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy in your car so it’s readily available whenever you may need it.
- Remain at the Scene: If you leave the scene of an accident and someone has been seriously injured or killed, you could be pegged as a hit-and-run driver and face severe penalties. Stick around until it’s an appropriate time to leave.
- Driver and Passenger Check: Take a minute to make certain that everyone involved in the accident is okay and conscious. Unless you’re qualified, do not attempt to move a hurt person unless they are in a hazardous area and it’s necessary.
- Call the Police: Filing a police report ensures that the record will be documented so that any gray areas can be avoided from the get-go. Police need to be called especially if there’s substantial property damage, injury, or death.
- Exchange Info: The following items should be exchanged when everyone has their bearings together: names, numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and insurance information. Try to be as cooperative as possible but don’t apologize for anything that happened while at the scene. If you do, fault may be admitted and you could have accepted legal liability for something that you aren’t necessarily accountable for.
- Take Pictures: As soon as you’re able, immediately take photos of the damage to your vehicle so your insurance adjuster has an exact idea of on how much compensation you may be owed. Keep a photo of your car in its regular condition so if you do get into an accident, you can show the before and after photos.
- Talk with Witnesses: The more info you have about the accident, the better. Gather names, numbers, and if possible, addresses of the people who saw the accident.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: It’s important to tell your insurance company the truth when reporting that you’ve been in an accident. Lying just leads to more serious issues if they do find out you’re stretching the truth, like denial of coverage.
- Decide if You Need an Attorney: If anyone suffered injuries from the accident, it’s most likely a good idea to hire an attorney. Having someone on your side to defend you and maximize your recovery doesn’t necessarily have to be costly, as many accident attorneys only get paid depending on if you are awarded damages or collect a settlement. If you do need monetary assistance, you may consider legal funding from a settlement funding company.
- Mum’s the Word: Be wary about who you discuss the accident with. The police, your insurance company, and your lawyer are essentially the only ones who should be in the know. Spilling details to anyone else has the potential to ruin the case for you if the wrong info were to get out.
Written by: Kristy Kravitsky