10 Important Steps To Take After Your Car Accident

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Even though every year car manufactures product safer and safer cars we still have a long way to go in lowering the number of accidents on our roads and highways. In the USA there are approximately 6 million car accidents every year, half of which result in some kind of injury according to Driver Knowledge. A car accident can leave you panicked and confused, but it is crucial to stay calm and rational right after it happens. You will likely want to make a compensation claim later on, especially if you or someone you love has been injured. Remember that many of the things that transpire right after a crash can heavily affect the case, so take these steps to strengthen your claim.

1. Call 911

Immediate medical assistance should be top priority if there are injuries. Don’t refuse medical care even if you feel fine. It is typical for injured individuals to feel better than they really are, as the surge of adrenaline masks the body’s real condition.

In addition, you need to let the authorities know about the incident and make an official accident report. Obtain a copy of this police report. It can support your claim later on, so don’t let the other driver talk you out of it.

2. Exchange driver’s information

Ask the other driver for their license, insurance information, contact information, and photo ID. It’s important to know who they are, as some drivers have outstanding traffic violations. You’ll also want to reach the driver’s insurance company later on. In exchange, offer the same information as well.

3. Document the scene

As soon as you can, take photographs or videos of the accident scene. Capture the vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks, damage on surrounding objects (guardrails, trees, etc), angles of the cars, and possible contributing factors such as obscured road signs. However, don’t move anything – document the scene just as it is.

4. Practice caution when speaking

Whether talking to the police, the other driver, or representatives of an insurance company, be careful not to make statements implying your fault. “Avoid apologizing for anything or making references to what you should have done” says Matthew Willens who as head attorney at Willens Law Offices in Chicago has handled hundreds of car accident cases. Just stick with the clear facts and politely refuse to answer questions that may be damaging to your case.

5. Look for witnesses

Possible witnesses include your own car passengers, pedestrians, and homeowners in the area. Politely talk to them, ask for their contact information, and ask to hear what they saw. If possible, get them to write down and sign their story – this can be used as evidence to support your claim.

6. Look out for admissions of fault

You may want to record the other driver’s statements as they may imply fault. The driver may say things like “I’m sorry I didn’t see you” or “I tried to stop but I don’t know what happened.” Such statements can serve as strong pieces of evidence against the driver.

7. See a doctor

Follow up your emergency care with an appointment with your primary care doctor, and if necessary, with a specialist. Knowing the true nature and extent of your injuries is a large factor in how much compensation you may claim, so don’t be afraid if you are referred to an orthopedic surgeon or any other specialists.

8. Document your losses

Keep all medical records, hospital bills, pharmacy receipts, car repair bills, and proofs of other accident-related expenses. Also note down the days you’ve had to miss work. Try to get proof of your losses, whether monetary or otherwise.

9. Talk to the insurance company

After the accident, an insurance company may get in touch with you. If not, give them a call. Depending on your state laws, the company that has to cover your losses may be the at-fault driver’s insurer or your own. Notify this company of the accident to begin the claims process. Note, however, that you are not required to give a recorded statement, so politely decline if the insurance adjuster tries to record you.

10. Consult a lawyer

Many accident victims end up damaging their own claim because of mistakes they make after the accident, such as making statements that imply their fault. Get the guidance of an accident lawyer who can protect you from making such mistakes. An attorney can also help you determine your best legal options to get compensated.

Even if you think your accident was minor, or if you’re not ready to take legal action, most personal injury attorneys offer free initial consultation that you should take advantage of. This simple phone call can make all the difference in your claim for compensation.

April 10, 2019 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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