What to do after an accident
After a serious accident, it is hard to know what you should do
No one expects to get in an accident, and so when it happens, the experience is always shocking. Even a minor collision is stressful, and it is difficult to know what to do immediately after an accident, to protect the safety of those involved, and to protect the rights of the victims going forward.
When a crash occurs, people may be injured or in danger, and emotions run high. Try to remain calm, to avoid anger or confrontation with other drivers, and to assess the scene for safety issues.
The following are important things to do after an accident:
- Check on the condition of all people involved, and get medical attention for anyone with injuries. Do not move an injured or unconscious person until trained medical personnel arrive, unless there is an imminent danger present.
- Call the police if there is physical injury, death, or significant property damage. Request that a police report be filed, and get the names and badge numbers of the responding officers.
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers involved. If they had passengers, or if there were witnesses to the crash, try to get their contact information as well.
- Let your insurance company know you've been in an accident. Tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries. Your insurance company is on your side, and your adjuster is there to help you.
- Take photos of your vehicle damage and your injuries. They can help your insurance adjuster or personal injury lawyer prove the value of your claim.
- Be cautious of early settlement offers. Don’t settle a claim until you know the full extent of your injuries and required medical treatment, including future surgery. Consult a lawyer before signing any settlement document.
Why should you consider working with a personal injury attorney on your insurance claim?
You should consider finding an experienced injury lawyer who will help you throughout the entire claim process and will protect your rights. A lawyer has the knowledge and resources to oversee all phases of the case, from the initial gathering and organizing of information, to getting statements from witnesses and physicians, to the final negotiation of a full settlement to compensate you for your financial losses. Having an injury attorney on your side allows you to focus on healing and recovery.
What do you do? Do you call your insurance? Do you call the at fault parties insurance? Is the injury to your body included with the claim you make for your damaged property?
Now, you don’t have to, you have the fifth amendment right to refuse to talk at all. Generally, that’s not a good idea because you will immediately go to jail.
Personal Injury Attorney Bill Coats often sees clients who only have the minimal information; he will immediately order the complete collision report for auto injury claims because it describes the “official” details of the accident as well as the registered owner’s name and insurance company.
How would you respond if an accident happened and you knew that you were not at fault? That response could make all the difference in the world when it comes to dealing with insurance companies and possible legal consequences, so you need to be aware of the right steps to take to ensure that your rights are protected.
The potential for devastation and injury is always high, but in the case that you only suffer vehicle damage, it’s important to understand your legal rights and know how to handle a car wreck.
Here is a simple list of do’s and don’ts after you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident of any kind...
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