While getting involved in an auto accident is an unnerving experience, it’s important to react as calmly and rationally as possible. This is made easier when you know what to do immediately after an accident. The following tips can help you stay prepared in the unlikely event that you do have a car accident.
Assess the Scene
The very first thing you will need to do after an auto accident is to assess the scene. This involves getting a general understanding of everyone’s injuries and determining the nearest cross streets. This information is necessary because it will help the emergency services dispatcher determine what kind of help is needed and where those responders should be sent.
Collect Contact Information
The next task on your list is to talk to the other drivers involved in the accident, although you should resist discussing the accident in detail. Instead, simply ask for the driver’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information. You should also take the time to ask for the names and contact information of any passengers involved in the accident. There may be witnesses to the accident, so be sure to collect their information as well.
Photograph the Scene
You can help your case by documenting the scene of the accident. Primarily, this will involve using your cell phone’s camera to photograph the damages to the vehicles. In addition to close-up pictures of property damages, you should also take pictures of the general area. Also, getting images of the license plate of the other vehicle will help you file a more accurate insurance claim.
Make a Statement
When the police come to investigate the accident, they may not take each driver’s statement. While that may not be necessary for the police report, it can reflect badly on you when you file your insurance claim. You should insist on writing your own statement, so your version of the accident will be included in the official report. This will be helpful in filing your claim and in helping with any civil suit that may result from the accident.
Request a Police Report
Additionally, be sure to ask the investigating officer to provide you with a copy of the police report. Many people forget this step and later find that it makes it more difficult for them to defend against traffic citations that resulted from the accident. If you have your own copy of the report, you can also use it in filing your own insurance claim. It can also help your lawyer assess your case by providing facts about the incident.
Undergo a Medical Evaluation
Often, people are tempted to forego a medical evaluation if they don’t experience any significant pain. Unfortunately, serious injuries don’t always cause pain until they grow more severe. This includes traumatic brain injuries, neck problems, and spine damage. If you do suffer one of these injuries and you didn’t undergo a medical evaluation within a reasonable time period following the accident, you may not be eligible to pursue damages. Ideally, you should get a medical evaluation and begin treatment for your injuries immediately after leaving the scene of the accident.
File an Insurance Claim
Whether or not you’re at fault in the accident, you will still have to file an insurance claim to cover your damages. This can be a long, complex process, so getting started as early as possible is important. While some people do have to sue their insurance companies for damages, this isn’t necessary in most cases. With the help of a skilled lawyer, you have a better chance of negotiating for a fair settlement.
Consult an Attorney
It’s important to consult Tweed Heads traffic fine lawyers as soon after your accident as is possible. Your attorney can help you handle any charges you may be facing as a result of the accident. While many people assume there’s no way to beat the system, there’s much your lawyer can do to help you. An experienced attorney can negotiate for a reduced fine or other penalties, including helping you keep your license. Depending on the circumstances of your case, your lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped, which can help you deal with any civil actions that also resulted from the accident.