If you have encountered a car accident, you ought to take certain steps to protect yourself from the medical and legal implications. There is no denying that it is hard to think straight if you are in serious trouble and the emotions and the trauma must be getting the good of you. However, making a mistake can make you compromise on not only your health but also the compensation that you are entitled to from the insurance company.
Approximately 3 million people get injured in car accidents every year that leads them to miss work and paying expensive medical bills. All this adds up to the financial constraint that can worsen your condition and make it impossible to cope with life let alone the injury. No matter how difficult it is, you should follow these steps as soon as you get into a car accident or ask someone else to do them on your behalf if you’re not in the condition.
Ensure Everyone’s Safety
You are bound to feel shaky and disoriented following a car crash. But, if you think you can focus, turn on the hazard lights and try to move the car into a safe space, out of the way of the traffic. Prioritize your safety and that of everyone else in the car and see if anyone needs immediate medical attention. You can call 911 so that all the medical emergencies are attended to but if your condition allows you, try to stay on the scene of the accident.
After a wreck, your adrenaline is working overtime and this means that you might not be able to feel the pain or discomfort until a few hours or even days. After taking care of everything at the accident spot, see a physician. Let him examine you so that they can determine if there are any injuries and how they must be addressed. Do not skip this visit because even a minor injury like a car accident whiplash, when left untreated, can cost you more than you can imagine.
Gather All the Important Information
As soon as you’re sure that everyone is fine and those who needed medical attention have been sent to the hospital, start collecting facts related to the accident. Take pictures of the vehicles so that you have a record of all the damage that has been incurred. You mustn’t apologize or admit that you’re at fault. It seems impolite but can make things go against you in the court. Instead, you can express your concerns without admitting any guilt.
Get all the important information like names, addresses, numbers, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information of the drivers involved. Stay cordial and cooperative while doing so and do not lose your cool because that can be held against you during the legal proceedings. These measures will set a strong stage for you if legal action needs to be pursued.
Call the Police
Whether it is a minor fender-bender or a major collision, it is important to call the police and in some states, like Tennessee, you are legally required to do so. The police will take an accident report and this will help your attorney when establishing an accident case. The report contains the details of what happened, documents of the parties involved, and all the other important information that is required in an attorney’s office.
Do not forget to take the investigating officer’s name and report number so that you can get a copy when it is ready. If the police can’t or didn’t come to the scene, you should go to the nearest police station and complete the report yourself. This report is very important for filing a claim and your insurer is going to ask for it, so this is one thing you shouldn’t skip if you’re looking for compensation.
Contact the Insurance Company
It is always better to be the first one to report the accident and do it before the other driver calls his company to make the claim. Let them know all the details so that they may start their work. They might even wish to send their insurance agent to assess the scene. No matter how trivial the accident seems to you, always call your insurance company because they are supposed to know everything.
Why is it important to do so? It’s important for your protection and your company needs to be sure that you’re not keeping any kind of information from them. Moreover, the after-effects of a car accident may not dawn on you immediately but you may end up experiencing circumstances that must be brought into the attention of the insurance company. The other drivers may also pursue legal action against you so having your insurance company on your side is essential.
Hire an Attorney
As soon as you report the accident to your insurance company, the next important step is to call an expert car accident attorney. No matter how minor the accident was, you may never know the repercussions that may pop with time. An attorney will make sure to protect your well-being and get you the compensation that you’re looking for.
Always remember that the insurance companies will pay the least possible amount and would never have your best interests in their minds. It is an attorney who will ensure that your rights and interests are guaranteed and protected so that you can get the right amount of compensation for your claim. Hire someone who has experience in the field, possesses strong credentials, and can provide a free consultation.
Getting into a car accident puts your life, health, and financial well-being at risk. A car accident can have long-lasting effects so take the right measures at the right time, be very vigilant, and prepare yourself for whatever is thrown your way. Apart from everything else, you need to stay strong and determined and do everything in your power to protect yourself.