What you do in the minutes after a car accident may have potentially serious ramifications on your health, safety, and the outcome of your car accident claim. Follow these steps to make sure you and others are safe, as well as protect your right to potential compensation.
Assess Car Accident Injuries
Determine whether you or others have been injured. This is not, of course, a final assessment, but a cursory one to guide your responses to the accident. Note that many injuries may not become evident until you are examined by a doctor, or sometimes days or weeks after the accident.
Move Yourself and Others to Safety
Next, move yourself and others out of the traffic to the extent possible. If your cars are still drivable, move them to the side of the road (in most states, this is required by law). Otherwise, just get out of the roadway and mark disabled cars as best you can (hopefully with flares). Don’t move an injured person unless you are a certified first responder, or if you believe the person is in imminent danger of additional injury.
Next, contact authorities about your accident. This is always true if there are injuries involved in the accident. If there were no injuries, you may be advised to skip this step and contact authorities later because of local laws and conditions.
Exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. Make sure you get insurance information, driver’s license number, and license plate number for every vehicle involved.
Document the Car Accident Scene
Next, collect contact information for any witnesses to the accident. If you have a camera on your phone, take pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident, the setting and conditions of the accident, skid marks, debris fields, and the drivers involved.
Don’t Talk to Insurance Companies
If insurance company representatives show up at the scene of an accident, do not talk to them, even if they are from your insurance company. You are required to give a statement to the authorities, who will make an official record of the accident that insurance companies will have access to. Giving multiple statements about an accident only introduces the risk of contradictory or conflicting information that may be used against you.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you do not think you’ve been hurt, you should seek medical attention after your car accident. Symptoms of your injury may be slight at first, but you should be aware of brain injury symptoms and spine injury symptoms that may develop over the next few days or weeks.
Contact a Car Accident Claims Attorney
After your car accident, you should consider talking to a car accident attorney. You don’t have to do this immediately, but you should be aware of the statute of limitations governing your right to make a claim. You should contact a car accident claims attorney when:
You have been diagnosed with injury and given a treatment plan
You have been offered a settlement by an insurance company
You are being pressured to make a statement about your accident
By this point, you should be aware that you need an attorney.
To get in touch with one of our experienced car accident attorneys, please contact AccidentAttorneys.org today.