When you are involved in a car accident, it is completely natural to be shaken up. In that moment, you are probably in a daze and have to force yourself to concentrate on the situation at hand. In the aftermath of the accident, it is important for you to remember these top ten tips for what to do next:
1. Make sure that everyone is okay. Even a minor car accident can cause injury. You need to make sure that you, your passengers, and those in the other car(s) are not severely injured and in need of immediate, life-saving medical care. If life-saving medical treatment is needed, call for an ambulance immediately.
2. Be Safe. Do your best to safely preserve the scene of the accident. Turn your flashers to warn traffic while you wait for the police to arrive.
3. Call the police. In the days that follow, you are going to likely recount the car accident several times. It is important to make an official report of the crash for insurance purposes. This report goes a long way towards determining fault and negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company and your insurance company in paying for damages and any necessary medical treatment.
4. Make an accurate record. Car accidents happen fast. It is important for you to make an accurate record for the police report. Be as accurate as you can in detailing the facts of the accident to the responding officers. If you can’t remember exactly how something happened, make sure that the officers knows that you cannot recall exactly what happened. Truthfulness is important, especially as your claim proceeds.
5. Take pictures. It is important to document any damage your vehicle suffered and any additional injuries. Do not interfere with the police officer’s investigation, but do your best to take good pictures. If taking pictures interferes with the police officer’s investigation, take pictures after the accident.
6. Exchange information. You need to get information from the other driver. Specifically, you need to get the other driver’s contact information and insurance information.
7. Never admit fault. If you admit fault in any form, it causes significant damage to your claim and could reduce the amount that you would otherwise be entitled to receive for your injuries and property damage suffered in the accident.
8. Seek medical treatment. Oftentimes, you don’t notice injuries from the accident immediately after impact. You may not begin suffering pain for several days or a week after the accident occurred. Even if you were involved in a minor wreck, you could have suffered injuries to your spinal cord that could cause serious long-term damage if you don’t seek medical treatment. The most important goal of medical treatment is for you to return to normal. You will need to attend all follow-up appointments with your physician and follow your physician’s instructions to the letter.
9. Report the accident to your insurance company. You do need to report the accident to your insurance company to start the claims process so that you can get reimbursed for your damages suffered from the accident. You can also receive funds from your policy to help pay for your medical expenses right away. However, you should be cautious in your dealings with the other driver’s insurance company. Do not give a recorded statement to their claims representative. The insurance company of the other driver is looking for any mistake you made that could have contributed to the accident so that they can claim that the accident was partially your fault in order to reduce their payout.
10. Consult an attorney. An experienced attorney knows the law and how it impacts your case. Specifically, an experienced attorney will tell you specifically how much time you have to file your case, can advise you on how much your case could be worth, and will assist you in fighting for your rights.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, feel free to contact us at 918-744-7001. For more information, you can also see our page about auto accidents, and fill out our form below for a free consultation.