When a person is injured in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, it can be overwhelming. While they’re trying to deal with the physical and mental trauma they’ve experienced, they must also attempt to remember what to do to protect themselves and their interests. To help accident victims through these trying times, we’ve assembled a list of seven steps to take immediately after an auto accident.
By following these steps, a victim can protect their rights and build a case against the at-fault driver, holding their insurer responsible for accident-related damages.
Assess the Well-Being of All Passengers and Drivers Involved
The first thing to do after an accident is to make sure everyone is safe. If anyone needs medical attention, note their injuries and tell the dispatcher when the police are called. This step is crucial, as failing to assess injuries will prevent the 911 operator from sending the right help to the accident scene.
Notify the Authorities Right Away
When the police are called, be sure to tell the 911 dispatcher about any emergencies and serious injuries. As officers get to the accident scene, they will investigate the incident and issue a citation to the at-fault driver. An official police report will serve as documentation of the accident for insurance purposes. This report should contain the other driver’s information, including their name, phone number, vehicle registration number, model and make of the vehicle, as well as their insurance information. It may help to note the responding officer’s badge number and name.
Document Property Damage and the Accident Scene
After the police have been called and everyone’s waiting for officers to arrive, it may be a good idea to photograph the accident scene. Use a smartphone to take photos of the scene and nearby areas. Everything from vehicle damage, traffic signals, weather conditions, and apparent injuries may help when filing an insurance claim. According to Justin Kimball from PreszlerLaw-NS.com, a person is entitled to statutory accident benefits regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident. Photos will serve as proof if the at-fault party tries to dispute the damages or the citation they’ve received.
Talk to Witnesses
Next, try to get statements and contact information from those who witnessed the accident. Witnesses’ statements will come in handy if there are discrepancies in the claim; the at-fault driver’s insurer can contact these witnesses to clear up confusion in the case.
Notify the Insurance Company
When the victim is away from the scene and the other people involved, they should call their insurance company and inform them of the incident. It’s important for victims to describe how the accident occurred and the extent of their injuries and property damage. At some point, the insurance company will want to see a copy of the police report, but in the beginning, the victim will fill out all the necessary forms regarding the collision and their injuries.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Whether or not a person believes they’ve been injured in an accident, they should be treated by a licensed physician as soon as possible. In many cases, auto accident injuries aren’t readily apparent, and they may not present symptoms for days or even weeks after a collision. The shock from an accident releases adrenaline and related hormones that mask the injury symptoms and pain for a short while.
Although this occurrence is quite common, most insurance companies require policyholders to see a physician within 72 hours of an incident. Failure to seek prompt medical attention may lead the insurance company to minimize or even deny the injury claim. It’s better to be safe than sorry; see a doctor as soon as possible after an auto accident.
Retain the Services of an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
Retaining an auto accident lawyer may be very beneficial to a case’s outcome, and it will help a victim relieve some of the stress that comes with such an incident. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will handle negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company so the victim can focus on their recovery. All vehicle repairs, medical bills, and other expenses will be part of the final settlement, and victims shouldn’t have to pay any fees up front. Most auto accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if the claim is successful.
Auto accidents are frightening experiences, and most people don’t know what to do afterward. However, by following these steps and consulting a personal injury lawyer, you’re more likely to get the settlement you deserve. Visit the website for additional information on the firm’s services and practice areas, or call today to request a no-obligation initial consultation with a local auto accident lawyer.