Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Accident

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After a car accident, you may be wondering what the essential steps are. Your emotions will likely be running high, and your injuries will likely be significant when this happens to you. Nevertheless, crucial actions must be taken immediately after and at the site of the accident.

Follow the steps below and make sure you have this information on the first steps following a car accident so you can handle the stressful situation with ease.

Get yourself and others safe

If the accident is smaller and you are not hurt badly, pull over to the side of the road, keep your hazard lights on, and put up flares to advise other cars to slow down and change lanes following the traffic law. Get out of the car immediately if the accident becomes worse or someone gets seriously injured. In this state, you may not be thinking rationally, so call for help immediately and wait for them patiently.

Call the police

Dial 911 and wait for the police authorities to arrive. To facilitate the filing of a police complaint, respond to any inquiries made by the officer. Include your insurance details and driver’s license number. Be as specific as possible when reporting the accident to the authorities, and get the officer’s name and badge number whenever interacting with them. Also, your insurance company will ask for a police report, so be sure to get one.

Save records and exchange information

It is important to save photos and videos of the accident, even if the police report offers a formal record of the event. To pinpoint the precise location of any hit, it is recommended to take photos from several angles. Your claims agent may use these pieces of evidence to establish liability.

Also, the other driver’s information must be recorded, including name, phone number, address, and insurance information. Other pieces of information you should keep include vehicle models, license plate numbers, and the driver’s license number. Also, kindly request the contact details of any witnesses who may have seen the accident.

Get an accident report

No matter how weird it may sound, the insurance company for the at-fault driver may dispute the accident’s legitimacy if the accident report is missing. An official report prepared by a responding police officer establishes that the accident did occur. Also, most accident reports include a description of what happened and who was at fault, a detailed account of the collision, and graphics showing the locations of the vehicles. Let’s say that your accident happened somewhere in California. In this case, you must obtain California traffic collision reports through the insurance company, the California Highway Patrol, regular mail, or telephone. The first step is to gather all the required information for the report request and determine which entity is responsible for handling the accident, depending on its location. This report provides valuable information for your attorney and helps ensure the validity of your claim.

Take pictures

Take pictures of each automobile from every angle. Make sure to get images of the damage and any fluid leaks. If it is safe to do so, stand at least ten feet away from your vehicle, the other vehicle(s), and anything else that might have been involved in the collision. As you approach the crash site, slowly advance and get additional images.

Photograph the streetscape. If the incident occurred at a crossroads, record the signals and street signs that may have been visible. Document any damage to the pavement or soil with photographs as well, such as skid marks or gouges. Photograph the inside of the vehicle in case there is any damage.

If you can, document your injuries, including wounds, cuts, or bruises. You never know when this could be useful in a personal injury lawsuit. Also, document anything else that can be used to convey the tale through photos. Take pictures of anything like potholes, roadwork, and debris that could have prompted a car to swerve; they might all play a role in the collision.

Get legal help

Get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney if anybody suffered injuries as a result of the accident. An attorney can explain the fine print of your insurance policy, assist you in collecting as much money as possible, and strengthen your case in court if you are found guilty. A lot of personal injury lawyers take cases on a contingency basis, meaning they won’t charge you anything until they win you money in damages or settlement.

Inform your insurance company

Get in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible after the accident. Describe it and your injuries accurately, and justify your position with evidence. Falsifying information to the insurance company throughout the claim process may lead to major consequences, such as the cancellation of your accident insurance policy.

Also, to determine who was at fault or who violated any traffic regulations, it is important to obtain and study any police reports that may have been filed.

Get medical attention

Make a note of all the medical professionals you see, including physicians, PTs, chiropractors, and others. Bear in mind to make a note of every doctor or nurse that sent you to another specialist. Also, note all the medications and therapies you take. To substantiate your spending later on, it is important to get copies of all medical documents and invoices. If these factors are present, they may have a significant impact on the eventual settlement amount of your case.

While it’s easier to verify medical costs, proving pain and suffering is more difficult than you can imagine. Jot down how your injuries have affected your everyday life. Specify how your injuries have impacted your family life, how many days of work you have missed, and what everyday tasks you are unable to do.

Don’t accept the first settlement offer

When an insurance company offers you a settlement, approach it carefully. Make sure that your severe injuries have been attended to. Many injuries from vehicle accidents, especially those from minor collisions, don’t manifest or become very painful until days, weeks, or months after the accident.

Make sure you’ll get compensation for all of your injuries before settling a vehicle insurance claim. Before you sign any settlement paperwork related to your vehicle accident claim, you should consult with an attorney.

Whether you were at fault or not, being well-prepared is always a good idea if a car accident happens. If another driver wrongfully accuses you of causing the accident, or if they deny responsibility, being prepared with all these steps will help you defend your rights and file a successful claim.

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