The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be an adrenaline-charged, stressful, and overwhelming experience. Being prepared by knowing what steps to take immediately after an accident can make all the difference in terms of both your health and safety and your chances at financial recovery through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Listed below are five important steps to take immediately after an accident. Each car accident is different, and specific circumstances may create other needs in your accident, but following these five steps is crucial in the aftermath of any accident.
1. Move to a Safe Location and Check for Injuries
The first priority after an accident is, of course, the safety of you and your passengers. If it is possible to do so, move your car or yourself and your passengers off the road to a safe location away from traffic. Check yourself and then your passengers for any signs of injury. It is important to be thorough, searching for injuries that may not be immediately apparent as well as obvious injuries. If any injuries require immediate medical attention, call 911 right away to request medical assistance and follow the operator’s advice on how to tend to the injuries as best you can.
2. Report the Accident and Record Information
After you have secured the safety of all those involved in the accident, call the police to report the accident, no matter how serious or minor it is. Ensuring that there is an official police report of your accident is crucial when building a case and negotiating a settlement. If you can, exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident, as well as contact information of any potential witnesses. Take pictures of the accident and of any other important evidence at the scene. This evidence will be helpful for a car accident lawyer as they build a case that determines who is at fault in your accident in order to secure financial compensation for your losses.
3. Notify Insurance
The next step is to notify your insurance company of the accident. Provide them with the details of the accident, but be sure to make no statements that admit fault. Be careful what you say when speaking with insurance, as they may attempt to use statements against you when negotiating a settlement. Also be wary of any initial offers they may make, and do not accept an offer without consulting with a lawyer.
4. Go to a Hospital
It is important to have your injuries examined by a doctor after a car accident, even if you do not believe that you have any significant injuries. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can have devastating long-term effects on your health if not caught at first. As our friends at Cohen & Cohen know, a doctor’s visit is not only beneficial for your health; it also creates important documentation of the full extent of your injuries that is vital when filing a personal injury claim.
5. Contact a Lawyer
As soon as possible after your accident, contact an experienced lawyer to consult on your case. A lawyer is an invaluable aid when filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. They have knowledge of the laws and regulations about car accident cases, experience negotiating with insurance companies, and understanding of how to navigate the legal system.
A lawyer will discuss your case with you, advise you on the best steps forward and the maximum amount of compensation to seek, gather evidence and build a case that proves liability in the at-fault party, negotiate with insurance on your behalf, and represent you and advocate for your rights throughout the entirety of your case. In order to receive the full and fair amount of compensation that you deserve after your accident, contact a lawyer today.