If you have been in a car accident, then you know how stressful the entire experience can be. Not only is there damage involved, but you could also be seriously hurt. It only takes one moment for an accident to happen, and when it does you will want to be prepared.
Although many people think they know what to do in the event of a car accident, most people still make mistakes. Truly knowing what to do in the event of a car accident will allow you to calmly handle the situation, and potentially have a better outcome both legally and financially.
Check for injuries
The first step you need to take after a car accident is checking yourself and your passengers for injuries. Some car accidents do cause injuries, while others do not, but either way, you need to check for them. Sometimes injuries do not become apparent immediately but rise to the surface a few days later.
Whether or not anyone is injured, you need to call 911. This way personnel can arrive to provide first aid. Especially if someone is extremely injured, this will make sure that person receives the medical care they need.
Move your vehicle to a safe location
Try to calm down and check to see if you are in the way of traffic. If you can move your vehicle, then try to take it off the road or at least to the shoulder.
Do not admit responsibility
No matter if you believe the accident was your fault or not, do not admit responsibility. Even if those around you try to attempt to push you into admitting, speak with them in a calm manner and tell them you will discuss it with them later.
Assess the situation and take notes
After stepping out of your vehicle and moving it out of the way, if you are not in a lot of pain, you should assess the situation. Take notes:
- Is anyone injured?
- The number of vehicles involved
- Any damage made to your vehicle or other vehicles
- Names of those involved
- License plate numbers
- Make and model of other vehicles involved
- Insurance details from all parties
- Any witnesses and their stories
- Weather conditions and visibility
- The location where the incident occurred
Use your mobile device to take photos if possible. Take a photo of the scene, the people involved, license plates, and any damage done to the vehicles. You can even make a video of the scene.
Decide if you need to have your car towed
If your car is unable to be driven, then you should consider having it towed directly to a garage. This will save an extra trip and hassle and allow you to have the process move quicker.
Cooperate with the police
If the accident is bad enough, or if you have called 911, it is inevitable that the police will arrive. Make sure to fully cooperate and do not leave the scene if you have not spoken with the police. Take note of the police report number.
Stay calm and silent
Even if you are upset by the situation, try to remain calm. The worst thing you can do in a situation such as a car accident is to get angry. Remember the person with whom you were just involved in an accident is a stranger.
The person with whom you were just in the accident with will also most likely plan to push you into admitting fault even if it was not so. Do not give any indication that you will admit fault for what happened. Keep silent and protect your rights.
File for an insurance claim
Make sure to contact your insurance company to file a claim as soon as possible. This is important because they will tell you how to conduct yourself when speaking with the opposing insurance company and can also help you handle details regarding your claim. They will also aid you in getting a replacement car if needed.
Eventually your insurance company will send a claims adjuster. They will assess your vehicle for damages, as well as your personal injuries.
The adjuster might ask for your “black box,” which records different information within your vehicle. It can give them information such as the speed of the vehicle during the accident, the direction of the wheels and situation of brakes, how many airbags deployed, and more.
Clarify what your insurance covers
Most car insurance covers medical expenses, but you need to confirm what your specific insurance will cover for you. Clarify what your package lacks and see if you need to rely on your health insurance.
Repair your vehicle
Focus on getting your car repaired. If you originally had it towed to the garage, then you will most likely be already started on this process. Despite obvious damage, sometimes the damage is not as apparent.
You may notice things going wrong with your vehicle following the accident. In this case, you should bring it in for repair to have an estimate sent to your insurance company.
Unfortunately, if you do wait to have your car taken to a shop, it may not be covered under the accident insurance claim. To avoid this, take your car directly to a shop, or have it towed.
Contact an accident lawyer
The best thing you can do after an accident is to contact an accident attorney. Lawyers can give you guidance on what course of action you should pursue. Your lawyer will teach you how to interact with your insurance company, the opposing insurance company, and what steps to take.
An experienced attorney will make sure that you are compensated for both repairs to your vehicle, as well as your medical expenses.
No one wants to be involved in a car accident. But it happens to even the best drivers and the best people. Make sure you know your rights. If you were involved in an accident and are looking to obtain the compensation you deserve, contact Lampert & Walsh, a Denver car accident lawyer.