If you’re involved in a car accident, you may feel confused, stressed, and frustrated—even if you don’t sustain any serious injuries. However, not knowing how to properly handle a car accident can be even more worrisome than the crash itself.
There are certain steps you need to take in order to effectively handle the situation. Read on to learn 10 things you need to do after a car accident.
10 Steps to Take
#1: Remain On The Scene
While this may seem like common sense, not everyone is aware that you must remain on the scene of the accident until authorities clear you to leave. If you leave before the situation has been completely handled, there may be serious consequences as a result.
#2: Make Sure The Scene is Safe
If you have flares, set them up around the scene of the accident so you can prevent further collisions. Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers know to be cautious.
#3: Call The Authorities
No matter if injuries are sustained, it’s in your best interest to have the police come and make a report about the collision. Having a police report can be very valuable to your claim because it provides an unbiased account of the events as they are described to the officer. Don’t move the vehicles until the police arrive unless they are blocking the flow of traffic. If that is the case, quickly photograph the vehicles from as many angles as you can before moving them out of the driving lanes.
#4: Provide A True Account
Make sure you are as honest as possible with the investigating officer. However, if there are certain facts you aren’t sure of, tell that to the officer. Don’t attempt to speculate or make any assumptions about what happened. Additionally, if you are asked if you’re hurt and you are unsure, don’t tell the officer that you are not injured. Instead, be honest, and tell the officer that you are unsure. It is common for the pain and injuries from car accidents to appear hours, days, or even weeks following an accident. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the other driver(s) involved in the accident provide accurate records.
#5: Snap Photographs
Use your smartphone to take pictures of the vehicles if any of the damages are visible. If you sustained any visible injuries, take photos of them, too. If for whatever reason, you are unable to take photos immediately after the wreck, you should return to the scene of the accident as soon as you can and take photos.
#6: Trade Information
Most of the time, the investigating officer will gather this information from all parties involved. However, it may still be a good idea for you to gather this information for yourself in case it is not shared with you. Be sure to obtain the following information from all individuals involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses present:
- Phone number
In addition, it’s a good idea to take photos of the following pieces of information from all drivers involved in the collision:
- Insurance card (front and back)
- Driver’s license (front and back)
- License plate number
Before the officer leaves, be sure to obtain the police report number from him or her so that you can view it when it becomes available (usually about 10 business days).
#7: Seek Medical Care
It’s in your best interest to seek medical care as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you don’t feel injured. Oftentimes, the pain of injuries sustained does not materialize for hours or days after an accident. Just because you don’t feel like you’re injured, that doesn’t mean you were completely unharmed in the wreck. Even relatively minor collisions can cause injuries that have serious, long-term consequences if not treated properly and promptly.
#8: Keep Everything Organized
In order to maximize the potential for your claim, you need to keep all relevant information regarding the accident together, organized, and in one place. Among other information regarding your claim, you should have the following organized and handy:
- Claim number
- The claim’s adjuster who is handling the claim
- Names and phone numbers of all contacts
- Receipts for a rental car
- Receipts for other expenses incurred as a result of the accident
#9: Contact The Insurance Company
You’ll need to report the accident to the insurance company within a reasonable amount of time. However, you do not need to provide a statement until you are sure you’re ready. Don’t let the other party’s insurance company bully you into providing a recorded statement before you are comfortable doing so.
Keep in mind you have the following three options for providing your statement:
- Over the phone (the insurance company will record your statement—you may also want to record it for your own records, just be sure you tell them you’re recording it too)
- In writing
- Your attorney may provide the statement for you
#10: Understand Your Rights
One of the most important things to do after an accident is to consult your attorney. Your attorney will be able to protect your rights and prevent valuable evidence from destruction.
Be sure that you speak with your attorney before providing a statement to the insurance company. Your lawyer can tell you how to be sure you receive adequate compensation for your damages as well as how to receive the best medical treatment available.
We’re Here to Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, our attorneys here at Capps, Gil & Parker, LLC may be able to help. Our team has helped many other people obtain justice and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office right away with any questions you may have.
Contact our team at Capps, Gil & Parker, LLC today at (334) 490-6344 to discuss the details of your case.