What do you do when you've been in a car accident? After all, severe injuries or emotions could arise on all sides. Keep this list handy so you can be prepared in such an event:
Check In With Other Parties
Depending on your local area, it could be illegal to leave the scene of an accident without ensuring that everyone is okay. The other passengers and drivers at the scene could be injured. Before you think about damage to vehicles or other property, make sure that everyone is accounted for. Help them get medical attention if needed, and do not move people who are experiencing back or neck pain.
Call Emergency Law Enforcement
Even if it is only a small "fender bender," you should always involve law enforcement. You need to call the police to the scene as soon as possible if there is damage to property or injury. Request that they create an official police report. Be sure to jot down the names and badge numbers of any officers that arrive.
Don't leave without obtaining the other drivers' phone numbers, home addresses, license plate numbers, and insurance info. Be polite during this process. However, do not imply responsibility by apologizing. While it may seem like the right thing to do in the moment, it can actually be used against you later as a form of legal liability if you end up in court.
Unless your accident happens on a rural country road at night, there are plausibly some witnesses to the incident. Attempt to get the information of all witnesses at the scene. This way, they can confirm your story if you end up fighting a legal battle or insurance battle.
Call Your Insurance Company
Make sure you inform your insurance company that you have just been in an accident. Tell them everything that happened and whether your not you are injured. If you lie during this process, you could lose your coverage.
Track Your Medical Issues
Any time you visit a doctor, physical therapist, or other medical practitioner, make sure to document it. Also keep track of how your injuries are negatively affecting your life. For example, perhaps you have missed work. If missing work causes you to be depressed, then this could fall under the category of mental "pain and suffering."
Take photos of your vehicle's damage. This will ensure that your insurance adjuster can offer a more accurate claim amount
Hire a Lawyer
You should consider hiring a car accident attorney (like those at Littman & Babiarz Law Office). They can help you get the most compensation or defend your position in court if you are at fault.
Being in an accident is traumatic. You may feel shaken up, and rightfully so. However, if you follow the steps above, you can achieve the best outcome possible.