If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how traumatic those moments immediately following the accident can be. You’re out of sorts, stressed, and may be injured. To help out, we outline the top 7 steps to take after a car accident. Our list is designed to help you protect both your legal rights and physical well-being.
Step 1: Seek medical assistance
The first step is obvious. If you have been injured, you should immediately seek medical treatment for your injuries. This is critical for several reasons. First, even car accident injuries that seem minor could have long-lasting consequences. Prompt attention could help speed up the recovery process and prevent minor injuries from becoming more serious. Second, it’s important to establish record of injury if you decide to pursue your case against the negligent party.
STEP 2: EXCHANGE INFORMATION
After an accident, make sure you exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident. At a minimum, take a picture of their drivers license, insurance documents, and license plate. Additionally, you should get their phone number.
STEP 3: GET NAMES OF WITNESSES
If you can, try to get the names and contact info of anyone that may have witnessed the accident. This information could be useful if litigation becomes necessary.
STEP 4: DO NOT ADMIT FAULT
After an accident, you may be inclined to apologize and claim responsibility for the accident. Given the confusion, you may not understand what actually happened. As such, it’s best to not admit fault and instead speak to an attorney regrading the accident.
STEP 5: SIGN ANY TICKETS ISSUED BY POLICE
You may be issued a ticket by police at the scene of the accident and may be asked to sign it. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt or fault, just simply acknowledgement that you received the ticket. As such, you should cooperate with law enforcement.
STEP 6: DO NOT NEGOTIATE WITH THE INSURANCE COMPANY
You may be contacted by the negligent party’s insurance company. They have attorneys and professional insurance adjusters who do everything they can to minimize your claims and attempt to have you make statements against your interests. While you are within your rights to negotiate with an insurance company, you should consider speaking to an attorney who can deal with them on your behalf.
STEP 7: SPEAK TO A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
As mentioned, the insurance company will have a team of attorneys. By hiring a personal injury attorney, you level the playing field. Further, an attorney can help you properly assess your injuries to ensure that you get the amount of compensation you deserve.