The moments following a car accident are terrifying. One minute you were cruising down Sixth Avenue with the windows down, and the next your airbags are deployed and you have excruciating pain in your neck. As adrenaline pumps through your veins, a million questions flood your mind: “What happened?” “Am I hurt?” “Is the other driver injured?” “Was this my fault?” “What do I do now?” After you take a moment to collect your thoughts, there are some important things to do – and not do – should you need to file an accident claim.
Things to Do After a Car Accident
Do call 911
After a car accident, exit your vehicle and move to the side of the road away from moving traffic. Your very first call should be to the authorities. Even if there are no injuries, you will still need to file a police report. The 911 dispatcher will ask if anyone is hurt. If so, he or she will send an ambulance along with the officer to transport injured passengers to the nearest hospital.
Do document the details and identify witnesses
Use your phone to take photos of the damage to both cars, any damaged property, skid marks on the pavement, and the other car’s license plate. Be sure to do this before moving the vehicles, if possible. Take detailed notes of everything you can remember. If the accident was not your fault, ask witnesses what they saw and document their names and contact information. If any witnesses are willing to wait for the police to arrive, ask them to provide a statement for the accident report.
Do call a car accident attorney and your insurance company
If you suffered an injury due to another driver’s negligence, you will need a car accident attorney to defend your rights. Insurance companies are known for offering miniscule settlements to protect their bottom line. A car accident attorney will know exactly how to negotiate to ensure you receive full compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering. It’s also important to call your car insurance company so they can create a claim and investigate the loss.
Things Not to Do After a Car Accident
Do not admit fault
It’s important to exchange basic information with the other driver following an accident, but it’s crucial not to discuss the incident or admit fault. Admitting liability to the other driver may be used against you further along in the accident claim. Even if the car accident was your fault, you don’t want to go on record before speaking to an accident lawyer.
Do not leave the scene of the accident
It may be tempting to drive away from the scene of an accident, especially if you aren’t injured and there isn’t significant damage to your car, but don’t. Whether or not you are at fault for the accident, leaving will make an already tense situation much worse. Not only will you have to deal with the accident, but you could also be charged with leaving the scene, which can result in hefty fines and possible jail time.
Do not agree to settle or speak to the other driver’s insurer
The negligent driver may try to pay you to avoid filing an insurance claim. Don’t agree to this before you’ve talked to an accident lawyer. The same goes for speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance adjuster will do everything he or she can not to pay, which isn’t fair to you. The best way to avoid being tricked is to not take the insurance company’s calls until you have the guidance of a car accident attorney.
Have you been involved in a car accident? Contact an attorney now.
Don’t wait until you’re struggling to receive compensation from an insurance company to contact a car accident attorney. Following an accident, make one of your first calls to the Law Offices of Elliott Kanter. Mr. Kanter will guide you through the entire process of dealing with insurance companies and help you find resources to cover your medical costs and vehicle repairs. You’ve suffered enough – allow us to take your accident claim from here. Call our office today at (619) 330-5881 to schedule your free consultation.