Unfortunately, car accidents are a possible reality throughout life. They can be a major setback but knowing the right things to do can help ease the blow.
Are you prepared with the best route to take if you’ve been in an accident on the road? This guide explains 7 essential steps to take after a car accident.
1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
Car accidents are always abrupt. Your effectiveness in taking any step will depend on how you react or respond to the situation. It would be best if you stayed calm unless you’re heavily injured.
Take a deep breath, relax and try to suppress any anxious emotions. Then step out of your car to assess the accident. Check the state and extent of injuries and the number of vehicles involved.
Don’t talk to the other party until you’re in control of your thoughts and emotions. You don’t want to make statements that can put you at blame.
Most importantly, set flares to alert oncoming vehicles you’re blocking the road. Make sure the flares are on both sides of the accident scene to avoid confusing other drivers. It’s always from the first assessment that you can answer questions like do I need a personal injury lawyer.
2. Take Photos or Videos Immediately after a Car Accident
Tons of things can happen during accidents like the other party fleeing away from scene. You may lose track of essential aspects in the accident scene. At this point, it’s never advisable to trust your memory─ take photos or videos if possible.
If an insurance adjuster doesn’t believe your words, images can help confirm your claims. For instance, a picture showing skid marks can prove that the other driver was overspeeding.
Take photos of every aspect of the accident scene to bulk up your claim. Also, take pictures of the injuries, actual damage, damaged vehicles and the number plates. Take photos of the weather and the scene before moving the cars.
3. Make All Emergency Calls
Calling 911 is a crucial step to take after a car accident. You can’t assume the extent of injuries especially if the accident is a collision. Some injuries can be internal or show up days later after the accident.
A 911 call means someone experienced can assess the situation. It’s also a significant step in claiming compensation after an accident.
The police officer responding to the call collects statements and issues an accident report. That report is necessary for filing an insurance claim or proving which party is at fault. Find the nearest police post to file the report if an officer didn’t arrive at the scene.
4. Document the Crash
If the police delay or don’t arrive at the scene, take the initiative to document the crash. Gather as much evidence as you can and collect the involved drivers’ information. It might be best to do this even if an officer does show up.
Remember to stay calm and ask the other driver for their name and insurance card information. Here’s some other information to collect at an accident scene:
- Check the validity of insurance information
- Driver’s name, address, and contact information
- The driver’s license number (double check it on their license too)
- Vehicle registration numbers
- Models of involved cars
- Police officer’s name, identification number and contact
- Police report number
- Witness names, addresses and contact numbers
- Use the Wreckcheck app to document accident details and share them with your agent.
Forgetting some of this essential info could make things harder if you’re trying report the accident and to get compensated.
5. Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents can disrupt your life in many ways. Afterward, you might lose your car or lose your savings trying to cover repairs. Please don’t wait until it’s too late to find a credible car accident lawyer. A car accident lawyer can help you whether you’re at fault or not.
Sometimes, the other party can try to pin some blame on you. Your insurance company may even want to avoid or limit your compensation. Have legal counsel from early on to ensure you get the treatment and compensation you deserve.
6. File for Insurance Claim
After hiring a car accident lawyer, you should file for an insurance claim. Compile all the gathered documentation and evidence and present it to your attorney.
Most people often make the mistake of contacting the insurance company without a lawyer. Sometimes, an insurer can try to take advantage of you because of limited law knowledge. They can also try to delay your claim or offer a low-ball settlement.
Wanting to file a fair claim? Work with your attorney from the first steps after a car accident. Their experience can give your case the deserved attention for fair compensation.
7. Inform Department of Motor Vehicles
Inform the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) about the accident to stay on the safe side. This is often one of the must steps to take after a car accident in some states.
The DMV also keeps track of road infractions. You may want to know if your driving record is still straight. You may also face heavy fines or lose your driving license if you don’t report as stipulated.
DMV requirements vary from state to state. They are not specific on which accidents are a must to report or who files the report. Deadlines also vary across states so make sure you visit your state’s DMV office to confirm what you need to do.
Know the Right Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Getting in a car accident is always a nerve-wracking experience─ no matter how calm you try to keep. Cleaning up afterwards can also be chaotic. Knowing and follow the right steps to take after a car accident is your lifeline.
If you want fair treatment and compensation, then make sure to cover these tips. For more legal tipcs and advice, check out the rest of our blog.