First Steps to Take After an Accident
In the moments after a car accident, it’s understandably hard to think straight. But, it’s important to remember that the steps you take after a car accident can save lives, decrease injuries, help with fast settlement of your car insurance claim, and keep you out of trouble with the law. Many drivers don’t really know what they should do and end up making mistakes that can delay their right to get compensation from insurance companies and the other drivers involved after a car accident.
Here are some tips on what you should do when you get involved in an accident:
- Stay at the scene. You need to stay at the scene and if you can, make sure everyone is safe and not severely injured. Exit your vehicle if you can and turn on your hazards. Call 911 for medical services and law enforcement help, especially if the damage is excessive or someone is severely hurt. For anything minor, you can call the non-emergency hotline.
- Assess damage and exchange information. When you know everyone is okay, start assessing the damage and take photos of all the damage you find. Once you are done, move your vehicle if it is safe to do so.
- Don’t admit fault or apologize. This may seem rude but when you admit wrongdoing, it could backfire on you later if the case ends up in court. Expressing concern and do what you need to do to get medical attention is okay, but you can do it without admitting fault.
- Exchange information. It is important to get names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all the drivers who were involved. For passengers, especially if they are hurt, you should also get their names, numbers, and addresses. As hard as it might be, try to be pleasant and cooperative with the other driver.
- If possible, talk to witnesses. Get their information and find out if accidents are common in the area the accident occurred.
- Contact your insurance company. It’s important to let them know you have been in an accident. Tell them exactly what happened and how badly you were injured. Do not lie! If you are caught lying, you can get in trouble and denied coverage for the accident.
- Be careful whom you talk to. Don’t talk to any from another insurance company without first talking to your attorney or insurer. If the other insurance company calls you, just politely them to call your attorney or insurer to set up an interview with you. Doing this ensures that those representing you are fully informed of what is happening. Also, having a copy of the police report is another helpful way to prove who was at fault for the accident.
- Get medical attention. Keeping track of your medical expenses and the treatments you receive. If you or anyone was hurt in an accident, you should consider turning to a qualified attorney.
- Keep your records. Whether it is the photos, the police report, medical reports, or any other expenses, make sure you have it all on record and you have it somewhere it can make
- Be prepared for the unexpected. There are statutes of limitations when it comes to filing either a claim or a lawsuit in a car accident case. You could also have to face paying for all the bills and costs if the at-fault driver is not insured. In this case, you might have a lawsuit on your hands.
Often, the costs related to a car accident have a risk of being more than basic injuries and car repair costs. It is extremely common to not consider all the costs and end up settling for a small amount. Working with a lawyer through this process is so important, especially when an accident can have ongoing effects that stay with you long after the crash. With support from One Law Group in Beverly Hills, you will have the best advice on taking the right steps after an accident to protect your rights and prepare you for the fight. At One Law Group, we know that even a minor fender bender can bring a lot of stress into your life. We’re here to take some of that stress away from you. Call us today at (424) 343-2822.