Being involved in a car accident can be scary if you do not know what to do. If you panic and do the wrong thing after an accident, you could easily lose out on any claim for damages. The steps you take following an accident will determine what compensation you receive and how fast your case is settled. The following is a breakdown of the important steps you need to make after an auto-accident.
Access the Situation
Before you take any action, determine your medical condition and that of your passengers. Check the condition of the driver of the other vehicle and their passengers. Also check whether there are pedestrians or motorcyclists who have been injured. It is also important to check for continuing dangers such as oncoming traffic or fires.
If anyone has been injured, call 911 for medical attention. If everyone is okay, you still need to call the legal authorities before tampering with the scene of the accident.
It is also advisable to make the road as safe as possible to avoid additional accidents. You can make the road safer by moving the vehicles and making a clear path to allow traffic to flow easily. To avoid messing with evidence by moving injured passengers or damaged vehicles, place warning signs, flares, or have a person direct traffic from the accident scene.
Collect Detailed Information
If you are not critically injured you can take time to gather some important information. However, if you are seriously injured, you can ask your lawyer to gather the following facts:
- Secure the information of all the drivers and passengers involved in the crash. This information entails their full names, driver’s license, and insurance carriers.
- Record the information about the vehicles that featured in the accident- this includes data such as the color, make, model, year, and the license plate of each vehicle.
- Record the statement of those who witnessed the accident
- Take photographs of the accident scene including the damaged vehicles and your injuries
Contact Your Lawyer
Whether or not you are liable for an accident, the presence of a lawyer at the scene of the accident will help your case. An attorney will not only help you file a claim within the statute of limitations, but they will be able to pursue damages according to sound legal arguments. In many cases, law enforcement officers compel liable parties into accepting guilt or making incriminating statements. Furthermore, insurance adjusters are known to lure ignorant accident victims into accepting premature settlements. The presence of a lawyer will keep you from incriminating yourself or consenting to a settlement without making all the necessary considerations. In addition, your lawyer will help you gather essential evidence to help you secure a fair compensation if you are a victim of the accident or a reasonable ruling if you are liable for the accident.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Failing to inform your insurance company the moment you are involved in an accident can significantly affect your compensation claim. Insurance adjusters are notorious for denying accident victims compensation for failure to report accidents in good time. One of the first steps you should take after being involved in an accident is to summon your insurance provider. You need to clearly give details about the accident and follow their instructions in obtaining any information that will help them grant you compensation.
Another consideration you should make before contacting your insurance provider is to determine what your policy covers. For example, it would be inappropriate to seek a replacement vehicle or towing services, if your policy does not cover these provisions.
Some of the insurance issues arising from an accident include:
- Personal Injury Protection- this policy will cater for your loss after an injury regardless of who is liable for the accident. This policy is also known as “No-Fault” insurance.
- Property Damage- this policy covers any damage to vehicles that are part of the accident together with any property affected.
- Medical Insurance/Physical Injury Liability: This form of insurance deals with medical and rehabilitation expenses resulting from an accident.
File a Police Report
Many people who are involved in accidents are tempted to disclose information to witnesses and police officers at the scene of the incidence. You should only make a statement at the police station in your area or download and fill a form from the website of the Department of Motor Vehicles. A police report usually fast tracks the processing of your claim by the insurance adjuster.
Being involved in an accident is an unfortunate experience for anyone. The outcome of many cases is determined by how the parties involved react to the accident. Whether or not you are guilty for the incident, taking the aforementioned measures after an accident will ensure your case does not go against you.