No matter how careful we are on the roads, accidents do, and can happen anytime. So, as much as you should take all the necessary measures to prevent an accident, it’s also important to know what to do if you’re caught up in one.
Here are our 10 steps to take after an auto accident.
- Call 911 Immediately
If you’re involved in a road accident, no matter the severity, the first number to dial should be 911. The police will not only guide you through the whole process, but will also collect scene details that may help you later on in case of litigation.
- Photograph The Scene
If you’re not seriously injured, try to take as many photos as you can. Make sure you capture all the vehicles and people involved in that particular accident. Your photos should ideally be centered on the damage caused – things like broken glass, bleeding wounds, damaged goods, or deployed airbags. If your vehicle was involved, documenting its condition just after the accident will be critical to a successful claim.
- Collect Information on The Other Drivers, Victims and Any Witnesses
If caught up in a car collision, make sure to collect the other car’s license number, insurance provider and the driver’s contact details. Also, try to obtain contact information from any passengers who were in the car. Further, ask eyewitnesses what they saw and take their contacts as well. All this information will come in handy if you decide to file a claim.
- Cooperate With The Police
After calling 911, do not leave the scene until the police arrive – unless if you are seriously injured. Truthfully answer all the questions the police ask you and report all your injuries and any damage to personal property.
This helps in filing your claim, since most insurance providers use the police reports to determine whether they’re going to pay a claim or not.
- Don’t Take Responsibility or Admit Guilt For Anything
Accidents can mentally and physically disorient you and mess up your memory, leaving you susceptible to believing accusations against you. But always remember, don’t ever admit guilt or responsibility in an auto accident, even if you can’t recall what happened. Instead, hire an auto accident attorney to help you navigate through the consequent legal challenges.
- Get a Copy of The Police Report
In every auto accident, the police have to document the scene and conduct investigations to determine culpability, and the way forward. In the state of California, for instance, the end results of these investigations are usually two: a Long Form Police Report or Driver Exchange of Information. It is highly important to get copies of these documents, or at least the police report number, as future claims will depend on them.
- Get Medical Assistance
In any auto accident, the police are typically accompanied by medical teams which offer assistance to the injured. It is in your best interest to accept medical help from any medical team in the scene of your accident, even for minor injuries. In fact, you should ensure that you get additional evaluation and testing at a hospital to identify internal injuries. Some injuries may seem minor at the scene, but end up being deadly after a few days or weeks.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
After getting medical attention, contact your insurance provider and let them know about the accident and the extent of the damage. Remember that the earlier you contact your insurance company after an accident, the faster your claim processing will be.
- Contact An Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
Litigation surrounding auto accidents is usually complicated. This is because most insurance companies are always reluctant to pay out claims. Hence, it’s always good to have an experienced attorney to deal with your insurance company, the police, and the other driver’s insurance provider on your behalf.
- Do Not Give The Other Side’s Insurance Provider Information About Your Injuries
Letting in the other car’s insurance company on your injury situation may result in you getting paid less than you deserve. In all your interactions with them, remember that you are not obligated to answer any questions about your injuries or damage to your property. Even better, tell them to consult your attorney if they want to know anything.