What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
We understand the anxiety one gets after being a victim in a car accident, from property damage to serious injury and the insurance claim process, a vehicular collision can have heavy repercussions on your life. Knowing this, you need to act as soon as possible to protect yourself and speed your recovery, both from a health and financial perspective.
Data from the NHTSA estimates that in the first nine months of 2020, including 6 months during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, deadly accidents rose nearly 5% compared to data from 2019 increasing the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled up to 1.35 from 1.10 the previous year.
While we all would love that accidents never happened, car accidents are sometimes unavoidable. Yet, being prepared and knowing what to do both before and after the accident can protect you and help your legal claim against the negligent parties at fault for the incident
How to prepare in case a car accident happens
From heavily congested intersections in the city to interstate highways, traffic collisions can happen anytime and anywhere. To protect yourself in case you are involved in one you should always:
- Carry a copy of your life insurance card or policy
- Always carry your driver’s license and other IDs with you
- Keep your vehicle’s registration papers inside your car at all times
- Carry a first aid or a safety kit in your vehicle
These documents will make the preliminary assessment by the emergency services that respond to the accident, as well as easier for you and the other party to exchange information. Keep in mind that some of these documents (license and registration) will be asked for by a police officer in the event they stop you on the road for any reason. So always carry them with you.
What are the most common symptoms of trauma?
It is normal for a person who survived any physical or emotionally taxing event to feel shocked and lost following the incident. However, some symptoms could be considered red flags especially if they grow even more pronounced over time. Among them are:
10 Steps to take after a car accident
To protect your legal rights as a wronged victim there are several steps that would be a good idea to take in the immediate aftermath of an accident. It might be difficult to think when being involved in a collision but staying calm and cooperating with other parties involved as well as emergency services will do you better than harm.
After a car accident you should:
1. Stay at the scene of the accident
No matter what type of collision it was, staying at the scene of the incident and trying not to panic will help you react quickly and help other people involved as well as assess your injuries and property damage in the best way possible for you.
2. Check yourself for injuries
Take into account that because of the adrenaline in your system because of the incident it might be difficult to truly assess the gravity of your injuries and you might not feel immediate pain from them. Still, check yourself for any grave injuries, if you can assist others in checking for injuries, do so.
3. Move to a safe location
If your car creates a safety hazard after an accident such as gasoline leaking or obstructing coming traffic, move to a safe location in the vicinity of the accident, but don’t leave the scene.
4. Call 911
Even if you get in a minor accident, calling the police or emergency services is important for you to get initial treatment for any injuries suffered from the accident. Just as well, the police will note down the details of the accidents and file a police report which will help you note down the important information of the event. Remember to ask for a copy of the police report.
information with others involved
Ask for contact information like the driver’s full name, home address, e-mail, phone number, driver’s license, insurance company, and policy number, and license plates. Give the same information to the other party as well, also note down the relationship of the driver with the vehicle involved in an accident if he is not the owner as well as the model and color of the vehicle.
Don’t forget to do the same with witnesses of the accident or those who were on the roadside assistance. Never sign anything that doesn’t come from the police, even if it’s from your own insurance company
6. Take pictures of the scene
Document the collision with your cell phone. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, the general scene of the accident, property damage, injuries, and road hazards. You can also take pictures of the driver’s license and license plates of the other vehicle. It is advisable to also take pictures of insurance documents in case your notes are misplaced, or some detail is written down incorrectly.
7. Record everything that happened
Write down everything the way you remember it. Include the approximate time, weather, and road conditions. Try to also note down how other vehicles were behaving around you. The way you note the details is up to you but recording everything will help you in your personal injury and property damage claims.
8. Keep a civil conversation
Emotions will be running high after an accident that’s for sure, but always keep it civil and polite with other parties involved, the police and medical personnel helping you in the accident. Running your mouth and being in an altered state will do you more harm than good.
9. Report the accident to your insurance
Promptly notify your auto insurance agent about the accident but don’t reveal anything more than what you need to nor make any statements or otherwise regarding liability. Notifying you is the easiest way to start a car accident claim.
While insurance companies will tell you that they can handle your claim and give you compensation, the amount they offer most likely will equal the breadcrumbs of what you deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney will thoroughly analyze all the evidence to help you determine the real compensation you deserve.
Not only that but a good California personal injury lawyer will help you get the appropriate medical treatment through a medical lien for your treatment to not hurt your wallet.
Also, a personal injury lawyer will be able to navigate through all the insurance companies’ tricks and is well versed in insurance codes and laws. He will save you all the stress of dealing with insurance companies on your own so you can get the best settlement offer possible.