The aftermath of a car accident can be very frightening. However, it’s important to take certain key steps as soon as one occurs. Knowing what to do after a car accident ahead of time makes it easier to stay calm after being in an accident.
Specifically, keep these points in mind if you ever find yourself in this situation:
Make Sure Everyone is Safe
Check yourself for injuries and find out whether any other occupants of the vehicle were harmed. Call the police and request medical assistance right away if anyone is even slightly injured.
If you or anyone else appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, be honest and report this to the police when you call. It’s important to inform first responders of any and all injuries for insurance reasons. Insurance providers may decline to cover an accident without a corresponding police report. Some states also have laws regarding filing police reports after car accidents.
Once you’ve checked everyone’s condition, get to safety. Don’t operate the car if it is substantially damaged.
Next, prepare for the insurance claims process by gathering key pieces of information from everyone involved in the accident, including names, addresses, vehicle models/license numbers, and more. Take notes about the nature of the damage and identify any witnesses who may be able to stick around and assist with the police report. Make sure you also learn about the insurance status of all vehicles involved in the accident.
Most Americans own smartphones now. Thus, there’s a good chance you already have a camera on you. Use it to take pictures of the damage, the scene of the accident, and the license plates of every vehicle that was damaged.
In the off-chance that you don’t have a camera, purchase a disposable one from a nearby store or gas station. You can also ask your attorney to send someone with a camera if you plan on seeking legal help.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Don’t delay when contacting your insurance provider. Most providers require you to contact them within a specified period of time after an accident. They may not cover the damage if you fail to meet the deadline.
However, if you have reason to suspect your provider may not cover the accident, quickly get in touch with a personal injury attorney beforehand. Don’t discuss any details of the accident until you’ve had the opportunity to speak about the incident with an attorney.
Of course, it’s also important to monitor your own wellbeing. A car accident might cause injuries you don’t immediately notice. See a doctor to ensure you don’t need treatment.
In the meantime, review the details of the case and consider whether contacting an attorney is a smart idea. They can be very helpful when gathering evidence. If you do need legal help, contacting them early boosts the odds of a successful outcome in your case.
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