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What Do I Do After A Car Accident?

by | Jun 2, 2016 | Auto Accidents | 0 comments

Being involved in a car crash, no matter how small, can be a jarring experience for everyone involved. It’s important to have a plan of action in place in the case of a collision, especially in the case of an injury. There are important tasks to take care of directly after the incident, as well as some that will come shortly after. 

  • Stay Put: Don’t leave the scene of the crash until everything is taken care of. Usually, you will get the go-ahead to leave from a police officer; if you leave before getting the all clear, especially if someone was seriously injured or killed in the crash, you could end up facing serious criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver. If it was a minor accident, attempt to pull over to the side of the road to avoid creating a traffic jam, but if the crash was more serious then you shouldn’t move any of the vehicles.
  • Check to Make Sure Everyone’s Okay: Your immediate responsibility is to yourself. Make sure you haven’t sustained a serious injury before checking on your passengers or the occupants of the other vehicles involved. If you suspect an injury, call for medical assistance immediately. Try not to move any injured persons unless a hazard requires their movement.
  • Call the Police: Once you’ve taken care of any medical needs, call the police. If there’s significant property damage, a serious injury, or death, it’s legally required to contact them, but getting a police report for minor crashes can help your claim down the road.
  • Take Pictures: Take photos of the scene of the crash from every angle, including close ups of the damaged parts of your vehicle. The photos will help your insurance company determine how much you should be compensated, as well as provide evidence if the case goes to court. It will help if you have a picture of your vehicle from before the crash to provide a before and after comparison.
  • Exchange Information: Get the name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information from any drivers involved in the crash, and get the name, address, and phone number from any other passengers involved.
  • Don’t Apologize: While apologizing is the polite response in daily life, it could come back to hurt you in a legal setting. An apology, no matter how small, can be considered admitting legal liability for the crash.
  • Talk to Witnesses: If you’re in a location with witnesses, ask every one of them for their view of the events and whether they’ve seen other crashes in the same area before. Get their name, phone number, and address if possible.
  • Contact Your Insurance Company: Inform your insurance company of your accident as soon as possible. It’s important to cooperate with them, including telling the complete truth as well as the extent of your injuries. If they discover that you lied later on, you could be in serious trouble, including coverage denial.
  • Obtain Damage Valuation: Your insurance company will be able to provide you a damage valuation to determine how much of a claim you are eligible for. If you aren’t satisfied with their estimate, get two independent replacement quotes or repair estimates. If you are still unable to agree on the car’s value, you may need to seek legal help.
  • Document Your Medical Treatments/Expenses: Keep track of any physicians, physical therapists, doctors, chiropractors, or any other medical professionals who treat you after the crash. Keeping a detailed account of your medications, treatments, medical reports, and bills will help you prove your medical expenses later. Also take note of any routine activities you are unable to do, as well as any workdays missed due to your injuries.
  • Be Careful Talking About the Crash: Discretion is key after the crash. Only speak with your attorney, and if representatives from another insurance company attempts to make contact, inform your lawyer and have them set up a meeting time.
  • Be Wary of Settlement Offers: If an insurance company offers you a settlement, consult with your attorney before even considering signing. Until you are completely sure you’ll be properly compensated for your injuries, accepting a settlement could end up leaving you worse off.

If you ever find yourself involved in a car collision, your safest option is getting in contact with a qualified car accident lawyer. Here at the Wyatt Law Firm, we put the needs of our clients first. Contacts us today for afree consultation, or call us at {F:P:Sub:Phone} to schedule a meeting with one of our San Antonio car accident attorneys.