The steps you take immediately after a car accident matter.
One of the famous attorneys, Henningsen, says that not following these steps could put you at risk of receiving a lower settlement than you deserve and may cause legal complications.
Being involved in a car accident is shocking and distressing, but you can handle the situation calmly and gracefully when you know what you should do.
5 Immediate Steps To Follow After A Car Accident
1. Call 911
You will need to notify the authorities of the crash if you are physically able. You are legally obligated to report your car accident if the accident involves any injuries, property damage, an excess of $500 in property damage, or death. Tell the dispatcher where you are, how many victims there are, and their condition.
2. Exchange Information
You must exchange contact information with the driver, including your names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, car insurance information, and each other’s driver’s license. You should also get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
3. Take Pictures
Please take pictures of the accident scene before first responders and crews clean it up and move the vehicles. Wide angle shots are useful when they include both cars, the intersection or road where it happened, and any street signs like stop signs or speed limit signs. Take close-up pictures of the damaged vehicles and license plates to provide visual details to your attorney.
4. Go To The Emergency Room
When you go to a hospital, they can take x-rays and check if you are fine or not. You should go to the nearest emergency room even if you feel fine because of the risk of potentially suffering from injuries with latent symptoms.
Sometimes aches and pains don’t show up right away, like in the case of whiplash. Your adrenaline could have masked the pain of an internal injury, slipped disc in your spine, an injured tendon or ligament, or fractured bone.
Common injuries after car accidents include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Cuts and lacerations
- Sprains and strains
5. Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
Many people delay seeking a personal injury attorney because they fear high fees, but most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Suppose your attorney decides that you have a valid case after this initial meeting and chooses to represent you. In that case, they can begin the process of notifying the insurance company and establishing liability.
There is no financial risk if you reach out to an attorney today, but there could be consequences if you do not start your claim immediately. Insurance companies are constantly watching out for fraudulent claims, but your attorney will fight to prove that you deserve compensation for your suffering.
What Should I Avoid Doing After An Accident?
Just as important as knowing what you should do after an accident, you should be aware of the things that could hurt your case.
1. Apologize Or Blame The Other Driver
Never treat the shoulder of the road as a courtroom or get into a debate with the other driver or their passengers. You should neither accept responsibility for the accident nor blame the other driver. Just exchange information and cooperate with law enforcement. Do not discuss the accident or its cause with the other driver.
2. Talk To The Insurance Company
Once done, the insurance company will do everything in its power to pay you less than you deserve. They sometimes word their questions in a way that tricks victims into unintentionally saying something that makes them sound more liable for the accident than they really are. This is why you should hire an attorney to speak to them for you. Attorneys know these tricks, so insurance adjusters won’t try them on lawyers. I recommend you read about loaner cars & how to get that for free.
3. Social Media
Posting about your accident may seem OK, but it could harm your case. If someone asks you what happened and you answer online, the insurance company could use what you post as evidence. Insurance companies are known for looking up the public profiles of anyone who has filed a claim to see if they can find signs of fraud, such as a claimant going hiking on vacation or otherwise proving that they’re not as injured as they say they are. You know that you were injured, but they have their doubts. It’s best to avoid any discussion of your accident on social media.
4. Quit Your Medical Treatment
It is imperative that you follow your doctor‘s orders not only for the sake of your health but because not following them is detrimental to your case. When the insurance company discovers that you are not following your treatment plan, they will suspect that you are not as injured as you say you are and refuse to pay for any medical expenses.