What to Do After a Car Crash
Did you know that over 1 million people die on roadways around the world? If you are ever involved in a car crash, it is important that you protect your legal rights. We have put together this guide to teach you what to do after a car accident.
Read on to learn how to navigate this stressful situation.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you want to do is make sure you have no injuries. If there is anyone else in the vehicle, make sure that they do not have any injuries either. If someone is injured, make sure that you call 911 and ask for medical support or ask a bystander for help if you are too hurt to move.
Even if no one seems hurt, you want to call 911. Keep in mind that in some states by law you have to call emergency services. The police will come out to the scene, and they will document what they observe, ask questions and fill out an accident report.
This report will help you when you are filing the claim with the insurance company or if you end up suing for car accident injuries.
Wait for Help
After you call 911, turn off your engine and turn your hazard lights on to make other drivers on the road aware that they need to slow down. Please be careful with bandit tow truck drivers. You do not want them to tow your vehicle.
These are truck drivers that you do not call to the scene but pull over offering to help. Unfortunately, this might be a scam where they will take your vehicle to a shady facility where they hold it hostage for a high payout.
While you are waiting for the police and/or other help, exchange contact information and insurance information with the other driver. Usually, you want to gather the following information:
- Full legal name (as it appears on the license)
- Insurance name and policy number
- Driver’s license information
- License plate number
- Accident location
- Color, make and model of vehicle
During the information exchange, keep conversation to a minimum. You do not want to really talk about the accident with the other driver to avoid accidentally claiming that it was your fault. It is best to avoid saying “I’m sorry” which tends to be the first thing most people say, even when it is not their fault.
Saying sorry to the other driver can be considered an admission of guilt, even when you have zero fault for the accident. We are not saying to not be polite (always be polite) but even if you think the accident was your fault, do not ever say this to anyone because it can be used against you. It can also cause you extra headaches or your claim can be denied, and you will have to pay out of pocket.
Document, Document, Document
One of the best ways to protect your rights is to document everything. When the officers come, make sure you get their names and badge numbers and write them down. Also, when the accident report is written up, ask for a copy of it.
Take out your phone and take plenty of pictures of all the vehicles involved in the accident. Also, take pictures of the other car’s license plate and a few pictures of the entire car accident scene. You can also take a video if you wish because this can help you support your claim in the event that you get denied.
If there are any witnesses at the scene, talk to them and take down their names and contact information. Ask each witness if they are willing to do a quick video to document what they witnessed. Some people are not comfortable recording video, so you can ask them if they can simply write up a statement for you and sign it.
If you have any issues with your claim later on, you can contact a reputable car crash lawyer like this local law firm and provide them with all the documents you gathered.
Notify the Insurance Companies
While you are at the scene waiting, you might want to call your own insurance company to notify them of what happened. This allows you to tell them exactly what happened while it is still fresh on your mind. During this call, they can tell you what they need in order to process the claim, and they can also set expectations for you.
Once you are done speaking with the officers and talking to your own insurance company, then you will want to contact the other person’s insurance and tell them what happened. When the other person is at fault, usually their insurance will pick up the bill unless there is a discrepancy or if they do not have the right coverage, then your insurance policy might have to foot the bill.
If the other party does not have insurance, and it is legally required in your state, then this might be ground for a car accident lawsuit. An attorney that is trained in accidents will be able to best advise you on how to move forward in this type of situation.
Now You Know What to Do After a Car Accident
Now that we shared what to do after a car accident, we hope that you are feeling a little more prepared even during these difficult times.
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