No one wants to be involved in a car accident, but odds are you will experience at least one during your lifetime. The actions you take immediately after an accident can have a huge impact on your later dealings with insurance companies and lawyers, so it’s important that you know what to do before the situation arises.
Check out our top 6 things to do after a car accident to help you keep a cool head in a tough situation and save you a lot of headaches in the future.
1. Check for Injuries
If you are not too badly injured yourself, check all other drivers and passengers for injuries. The safety of everyone involved is most important. Call an ambulance if you have any doubt, as the full extent of injuries may not be immediately obvious.
2. Call the Police
You should call the police to the scene of any accident more serious than a minor fender bender. Make sure that a police report is filed, and ask for the case number. Also get the names and badge numbers of all officers at the scene. Police officers handle many accidents each week. You want to be able to easily identify which one is yours weeks or months down the line.
3. Take Pictures
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s definitely true when it comes to car accidents. It’s fortunate, then, that most of us have a camera in our purses or pockets almost all the time. Take as many pictures as you can, and try to capture as many different angles as possible. Also take pictures of the general area and any traffic indicators. These photos may be important evidence later on.
4. Get All the Information You Can
Start by exchanging insurance information with the other driver, as well as names and phone numbers. Write down the insurance company, the name of the insured (who may not be the driver), and the policy number. Also get the names and numbers of any passengers or witnesses. The more information you gather at the scene the better. Having these names and numbers will come in handy when you …
5. File an Insurance Claim
Call your insurance provider as soon as possible to inform them of the accident and start the claim process. Explain the facts clearly, and be truthful. You will probably have to give your statement several times, so you may want to write down the main points—human memory is not as reliable as we like to think.
6. Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Insurance claims are a messy business, and an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process. If you are injured in an accident, hiring a licensed car accident lawyer will help you get the best recovery possible. Don’t accept a settlement offer until you consult with an attorney.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact us for a free consultation.