Getting into a car accident is an overwhelming experience. The trauma can last for several days or weeks, depending on the severity of the crash. With the emotions and adrenaline running high, the initial moments following the accident prevent you from thinking rationally.
Remaining calm and knowing what to do after a car accident can help you manage the post-accident process much more smoothly. These Myrtle Beach car accident lawyers tell us some of the most indispensable steps to take after a wreck to minimise the hassle and stress associated with a car accident and deal with the aftermath effectively.
What to do after a car accident
Check for injuries
Assuming you are not seriously hurt, the first and foremost step following the collision is to stop your vehicle and determine if anyone has been injured.
Get out of your car with extreme caution and approach the other vehicle(s) to check for injuries. If you suspect anyone is even minorly hurt, immediately call 911 for prompt medical help.
Give as many details as possible to the dispatches regarding the location of the accident.
Get to safety
If the crash is not severe, carefully get out of harm’s way by moving your car from the main road to a secure spot to avoid impeding traffic. Switch off the engine and turn on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic. If your car has incurred extensive damage and is not operational, move yourself and the other passengers to the sidewalk to ensure safety.
Next, call the police immediately, regardless of how minor the crash is. A police report is a vital aspect of the claims process.
After ensuring everyone’s safety, your next step is approaching the other driver(s) with a cool head to swap essential information vital for an auto insurance claim. That includes names, contact numbers, insurance policy numbers, driver’s license numbers, and license plate numbers.
While doing all this, it is vital to interact minimally with the other party and not admit fault, as it could be used against you during the claims or trial process. It could devalue your case and prevent you from securing the deserving compensation.
If you notice any signs of aggression from the other driver, it is best to wait for the police to arrive and take over.
Documenting the crash and collecting critical evidence is indispensable to building a convincing auto accident claim and protecting yourself against any false claims made by the opposing party.
Provided you are not seriously injured, gather as much detail using your phone.
That includes pictures of both cars from various angles that clearly show damage incurred and names and contact numbers of witnesses. If there are any factors that you believe might have contributed to the crash, like hazardous road conditions, roadside debris, or poor lighting, capture that too.
It is also crucial to take pictures of your injuries, like bruises or cuts. Often, even the slightest of injuries manifest much worse symptoms later on.
You would want to seek compensation for any medical costs related to your injuries down the road when you file and claim. Documenting your injuries can help prove that your condition is related to the accident.
Lastly, obtain a copy of the police report to provide to your insurance company when filing a claim.
Notify your insurance company
Inform your insurance company about the accident to claim damages, including car repair expenses and medical costs if covered in your policy. They will guide you regarding all the details required to start the claims process. An insurance adjuster might investigate the accident and assess the damage to determine the value of your claim.
It is vital to note that you must not limit communications with your insurers regarding the accident. Do not discuss your injuries, admit fault, apologise or provide any recorded statement.
Do not sign any offer made by the insurance carrier without speaking to your attorney. While the initial settlement offer might seem tempting to accept, you might be entitled to more compensation than the offer.
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to settle claims with a minimum payout, depriving you of your right to receive the deserving compensation.
Contact a personal injury attorney
After notifying the insurance company, contact a car accident lawyer who will best protect your rights and interests and strive to bring you a fair payout.
An auto accident lawyer will determine the actual value of your claim and provide a level playing field by negotiating with the insurance companies. If a fair settlement is not reached, your attorney can take the case to the court of law by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
With a skilled and experienced attorney to represent you, you can rest assured that they will bring you the compensation to which you are entitled.
Car accidents can occur in the blink of any. Preparing yourself to deal with the aftermath of the unexpected can help protect yourself and your rights by solidifying your auto accident claim and recovering the compensation you deserve.
Featured image: Sam Chen/Pixabay