Getting into a car accident can be stressful in so many respects. You may be in a state of shock, and it can be hard to think straight about everything that you need to do following a crash.
There are certain things that you must do when you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident. Some of these are legal requirements, while others will help you when it comes to raising an insurance claim or obtaining compensation for your accident.
Have you been in a car accident? If you have, here’s what you need to do:
Check If Anyone Has Been Injured
Immediately after you have been in a car accident, quickly assess yourself and your passengers for injury. While you may feel fine right now, it is important to bear in mind that some injuries will be slow to materialize following an accident.
You may also underestimate the extent of your injuries immediately following an automobile accident because you may not feel the pain. Oftentimes this is due to adrenaline or because you are in shock.
Try your best to remain calm while assessing injuries. Sometimes injuries from motor vehicle accidents can be quite extreme. You will need to keep a level head while assessing your own injuries or those of your passengers. Take long deep breaths to help to calm yourself down.
If you or anyone in your vehicle have severe or life-threatening injuries, you should not move that individual. You could do further damage to that individual. If this is the case, alert the emergency services to the fact that there are injured parties still in the vehicle.
Get to Safety
If there are no serious or life-threatening injuries, you must get yourself and any passengers from your vehicle to safety.
If you have crashed on a main road or highway, there will be a lot of traffic about and you will be at risk of a further accident occurring. Your safety should be of paramount importance at all times.
Call the Police and an Ambulance
Once you have checked on the injuries of everyone involved and have gotten to safety, you should report the accident to the emergency services. You will need to let the police know about the accident as they will want to investigate it further.
Your insurance company will need reference numbers from the police. You will also be lowering the risk of insurance fraud by getting the police involved.
If there are injuries, you will undoubtedly need an ambulance. You may need more than one ambulance depending on the number of people who have been injured. Be sure and make clear when calling in the accident how many people you suspect of being injured.
In certain circumstances, you may need the assistance of the fire brigade. In some extreme cases, there may be a vehicular fire or the vehicles may be so damaged that they need to be cut open with the jaws of life to help people to get out.
Exchange Details With the Other Driver
Once you have alerted the authorities about the accident, you should contact the other driver and exchange your contact information (name, address, and telephone number), drivers’ license numbers, information of the other vehicle (year, make, model and license plate number) and automobile insurance information.
It is vital that you exchange details with the other driver as you will need their information to make an insurance claim.
If there is more than one driver involved in the accident, make sure that you get the information from every driver.
Don’t Apologize or Take the Blame
When speaking with the other driver, or drivers, it is essential that you do not admit to being at fault. You should also resist any urge that you have to apologize for the accident.
While this is especially true if you are not at fault, you shouldn’t take the blame even if you believe it to be true.
It will be the job of the police, the insurance company, or the courts to decide who was at fault in the accident, and taking responsibility for it at this early stage could invalidate any legitimate claim that you may have.
Be polite when dealing with the drivers of any other vehicles involved in the accident. Don’t argue with them.
There will be a lot of evidence that you will need to gather from the scene of the accident. This will be important for both your insurance company and your attorney.
Fortunately, most people have a smartphone these days which makes gathering evidence and information easier.
First, you should take photos of any damage that there is to any of the vehicles involved in the accident. Try to get good clear images in a mixture of close up and long shots that show the full extent of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) involved.
Second, you should take photos of the road. If there are skid marks left by any of the vehicles, these might be relevant in the subsequent investigations or your case should you need to go to court.
You should also take images of any damage to any surroundings. For example, if any of the vehicles have crashed into fences, walls, or anything else.
Get Yourself Checked Over by a Paramedic or Seek Medical Attention
Whether you feel as though you have an injury or not, you should make sure that you get yourself checked over by a paramedic at the earliest possible opportunity.
A paramedic will be able to fully assess you for any potential injury that you may have. There is a distinct chance that many of the injuries that you could sustain from a vehicular accident will not present straight away. Many will take time to appear.
You may be in a state of shock, and this can cause a delay in feeling pain. You may also experience referred pain, where you feel pain in one part of your body, but have an injury elsewhere.
If you continue to feel pain, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Call a Personal Injury Lawyer Before Speaking to the Insurance Adjuster
If you have been injured as a result of a car accident that was not your fault, you should certainly make a call to a personal injury lawyer. Hiring an attorney can be one of the most important things to do after you have been in a car accident.
Do not get swayed by an insurance adjuster into taking a quick settlement. You may likely be selling yourself short. A good attorney will be able to assess your claim and determine whether the adverse insurance company is making a fair settlement.
Do not accept any settlement offer or sign any paperwork giving up your legal rights before speaking with an attorney. This is important to prevent you from making a big mistake and from getting a fair settlement.
Don’t Talk About Your Claim on Social Media
Following on from a car accident, you should be careful to not talk about the accident or the claim on social media. Insurance companies may be able to build a case against you based on your comments online.
It is not uncommon for insurance adjusters to use social media to spy on claimants on social media.
Have You Been in a Car Accident?
If you have been in a car accident, remember to stay calm, call the police, exchange details with the other drivers, and gather evidence.
It is vital that you do not admit to being at fault for the accident. Do not delay getting medical attention when you start to feel pain or discomfort.
Above all else, you should enlist the services of a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through the claims process.
If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer, the Etengoff Pak Law Group is here to help you get the settlement you deserve. For more information, contact us now.