It all happens in the blink of an eye. One second you’re peacefully driving to work like any other day, and the next, you’re startled by a violent shaking of your vehicle, as it takes you for a few spins, which are completely beyond your control. Car accidents tend to come when you least expect them. After those few moments of initial shock have subsided, it’s vital that you take the necessary actions to properly deal with the legal and injury-related results of your car accident, whether you’re the innocent driver, or not.
Make sure there aren’t any related injuries
If you have passengers in your car, it should simply be a gut reaction to ask if they’re alright – ask them to check for any apparent injuries, even if they’re not in any immediate pain. If all is clear in your vehicle, get out and make sure the other parties involved in the accident aren’t injured. If someone is injured, tell them to be as still as possible until help arrives.
You’ve been told since you were a kid to call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency. Your car crash is an emergency. Make sure you notify the operator of your location, and of any noticeable injuries. The call for first responders will also dispatch police officers, who will begin gathering information from the scene to include in their police report.
Avoid talking about fault
Going on the notion that nobody was hurt in the car accident, and both drivers are able to discuss what has happened, it’s important to avoid apologies at first, as this can be seen as an admission of liability in consideration of auto insurance policies.
Take photos of the scene
Visual proof of the damage will help in case of a lawsuit, communication with auto insurance claim on both sides, and for any personal evidence or claim of damages. Collect all information from police officers and keep all evidence from the accident, including images taken during the exchange insurance.
Talk to witnesses
Ask a few bystanders to tell you what they saw, and be sure to take down their contact information. Write down the sequence of events as you remember them, and then document them from the bystanders’ point-of-view, both with as much detail as possible.
Contact your insurance company
Let your insurance company know about the accident, even if you are at fault. It’s also important to keep a close watch on how much time and money you spend on pursuing your claim, receiving medical care, and vehicle damage repair. Be sure to document photographs of the scene and weather conditions as you observe them on the day of your crash.
Get a property damage estimate
This estimate will serve as the suggested amount you or the insurance company will need to cover to repair or replace your car. If the figure that the insurance company gives isn’t satisfactory to you, it is perfectly acceptable to seek quotes elsewhere.
When the other party’s insurance company calls…
Be careful what you say. Chances are, your injury claim is a high-stakes situation. As such, it may be best to have an experienced professional speak on your behalf.
Contact an experienced auto accident attorney
When the other party’s insurance company comes knocking, or when you’re looking to file a claim against the other party in the car accident, seek legal counseling from an experienced personal injury attorney to secure the compensation your damages deserve.
If you are in a car accident and need help navigating an injury claim that could result in a lawsuit, the team at Hagen Rosskopf has experience in nearly a dozen practice areas to suit your legal needs. Start your conversation with us today.