When someone is involved in a car accident, panic may take over quickly. However, it is important to remain calm and try to identify what you have to do at the scene of the accident and after that. Read on to understand the steps you need to take after being in an auto accident.
Steps to take while at the scene
After being in an accident, you need to stay at the scene until you are no longer required to stay there. This is especially important in cases where there are injuries or fatalities involved. If the accident was caused due to your negligence or fault, you may be considered as a hit-and-run driver if you leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information and informing the police about it. Check to see if someone needs help. Get medical assistance as needed. Do not try to give medical assistance to someone injured if you are unqualified to do so. Wait for help to arrive. If you are hurt, seek medical assistance.
Call 911 in case of serious injuries and also call the police in case there is property damage, injury or death. Get the names and badge numbers of the responding officers at the scene and ask them to file a police report. Exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the crash. Also obtain contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Note down the name, numbers, contact details, license plate number of the vehicles involved and get basic insurance information of all the drivers and passengers involved in the accident. While talking to other drivers and people involved in the accident, be as cooperative and cordial as possible. Do not engage in conversations with anyone. Just get the necessary details. Also get the names, numbers and addresses of every witness at the scene.
Never apologize to the other driver and never admit fault or guilt at the scene of the accident. Whatever you say and do can be used against you later on. Stay focused, observe everything happening around you and take down notes. Take photos of the accident scene if you can with your mobile phone or camera.
Steps to take after the accident
After you have left the scene of the accident and have received any necessary medical treatment, you need to inform your insurance company about the accident. Tell them everything that happened truthfully. Never lie to the insurance company because they may deny coverage if they find out you lied to them. Explain all the facts clearly. Get a copy of the police report that was filed at the scene. Also get in touch with a personal injury attorney and discuss your case with them. The attorney will have a look at the police report in order to determine who was actually at fault and if someone broke any laws. Share any pictures you took at the scene and share all the information you collected from the scene after the accident with your attorney.
Record your medical treatment
Note down everything about the medical treatment you get after the accident. Keep a detailed account of every treatment you got, the medications you received, and the caregivers and medical professionals you consulted and received treatment from. Document everything and also note down if you had to take leave from work due to your injuries. If the injury affected your daily activities in some way, discuss that with your lawyer.
Your attorney will get a property damage valuation done and will inform you the value of your settlement amount. You and your lawyer will have the option to reach a settlement before trial. Wait for your treatment to complete fully so you have an idea of the total expense incurred in your injury case. Stay wary of early settlement offers by the other party. If you feel the settlement amount being offered is too less, you can go to trial to reach a favorable settlement.