The Top 5 Things You Should Do After A Car Accident
Nobody expects to be in a car accident when they get into a car. Every day, though, millions of people are injured in car accidents throughout the United States, and precious few are prepared for the stress and frustration that almost always follows.
A car accident can happen in the blink of an eye and can leave you stunned and in shock afterwards. No matter how hard you try, there’s no way to fully prevent being in a car accident one day. Internal insurance studies have shown that the average driver is involved in at least one accident every 17 years. Below is a list of what you should do if you ever find yourself the unfortunate victim of a car accident.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The most important thing to do after a car accident is to check to see if you have been seriously injured. If you feel excruciating pain, struggle to maintain consciousness, or are unable to walk, do not hesitate to contact 911 for emergency assistance.
Only after you are certain you are not seriously injured should you attend to anyone else who may be injured inside of your car or in the other vehicles that were involved in the accident. Again, if you find that someone else is seriously injured, do not wait to call emergency services. Keep in mind that internal injuries don’t always express symptoms on the surface of the skin. If another person involved in the accident is unconscious or complains of severe pain, call 911 immediately. You just might save a life.
- File a Police Report
Regardless of the severity of the car accident, it’s almost always smart to file a police report afterward. It’s best to have an unbiased mediator at the scene of the accident to fairly assess the details. If the other driver involved in the accident says they rather not call the police out, that you two can just exchange information and be on your way, you should insist on contacting the police anyway. This is the best way to hold whomever is responsible for the accident accountable for their recklessness.
When a police officer does arrive to the scene of the accident, it is wise to be as honest as possible about the circumstances that lead to the wreck. You should avoid outright admitting fault, however, even if you believe your actions caused the accident. Let the police officer determine who the at-fault party may be. Do your best to avoid discussing any injuries you may have suffered or what level of pain you are experiencing. Freely admitting that you were at fault or saying that you are uninjured in front of a police officer or another witness will only complicate your personal injury case down the road.
- Gather Evidence
If you have to wait at the scene of the accident for the police to arrive, you can fill the time by collecting evidence. The best way to do this is to take photos or videos of the wrecked vehicles. You should also gather statements from anyone else who may have witnessed the accident. Other admissible evidence includes medical records, auto repair estimates, paycheck stubs, tax records, and employment verification forms. Remember that there is no such thing as having too much evidence. The more evidence you are able to compile, the stronger your car accident claim will inevitably be.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
After you have left the scene of the crash, you should call your insurance representative to let them know you were involved in an accident. Regardless of whether you were responsible or not, you should file an accident claim with them. They will then explain what you should do next and likely advise you not to admit guilt or sign any documents without consulting them first.
In the days following the accident, don’t be surprised if you receive a call from an adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company. The adjuster might try to pressure you into answering loaded or leading questions during the call. They could even offer you an early settlement to cover your losses and injuries. 99% of the time this offer will be far too low to even cover your medical bills. You should also refrain from answering any of the adjuster’s questions. If you do have an encounter with a pushy adjuster offering you a settlement with a bunch of zeros, you should seriously consider hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer. Without proper legal representation, you risk being left without adequate compensation to cover your injuries and losses.
- Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
The best way to recover what you are legally owed after your car accident is to hire a professional lawyer to represent your car accident claim. A skilled personal injury attorney can negotiate with insurance adjusters in your stead, recover any wages you may have lost in the aftermath of your accident, obtain damage estimates for your wrecked vehicle, and build a comprehensive cache of your medical records and any other financial losses you may have suffered. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have represented hundreds if not thousands of car accident claims just like yours. They will know how best to get you the settlement you deserve.
The Advocates is a personal injury law firm that serves accident injury victims all throughout the state of Idaho.