Getting in a car accident is scary. It happens quickly, you don’t expect it and it can change your life for months or even years afterward. Immediately after the wreck you often feel confused, scared and unsure of what the right steps are to resolve the matter quickly.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about handling your car accident, both immediately after it happens and once the dust settles. Let’s look at the process step-by-step.
Step 1: Check for Injuries and Move to Safety
The very first thing to do when you get into an accident is to assess if everyone in the car is okay. You may know right away if you’re injured, and you should ask all of your passengers if they’re okay. This allows you to assess if you need an ambulance on the scene. You can also check on the people in the other car if they get out of the vehicle or seem non-responsive.
Next, you want to take pictures of the accident where it happened so you can move your cars to a safe area. The pictures help to document the crash itself and how it happened. However, you do not want to leave your vehicles in traffic lanes because the backup could make it difficult for emergency responders to reach you. Instead, move to the shoulder or any nearby parking lots and out of the flow of traffic.
Step 2: Call the Police
If you get into a car accident, no matter how big or small, you need to call the police. An officer will come out to the scene of the accident, take your and the other person’s statements and officially file them in their system. This report will be very important in case you have to go to court, determine a settlement or sue for injury and damages.
Many people will forgo calling the police in the case of small accidents with little or no damage. As tempting as this seems, you should not give in if someone suggests this. A police statement protects you from someone coming back after the fact and claiming damage or injuries. Even if the other person refuses to wait and drives away, you should still wait for a law enforcement officer to arrive.
Step 4: Seek Treatment and Call a Lawyer
If you or any passengers were injured, then you need to seek treatment for your injuries right away. Consider visiting a nearby hospital or urgent care center to have your injuries assessed and initially treated. Ensure the staff knows these injuries were a result of a car accident so they retain the proper paperwork and summaries for your insurance company to include in your claim.
In the event of serious injuries, such as broken bones or significant trauma, you might need legal representation to help you settle your case. It’s important to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so they can represent you throughout your entire case and win you a fair settlement. To explore more about hiring a personal injury attorney, you can learn more here.
Step 5: Call Your Insurance and File a Claim
The final step after your car accident is to call your insurance company and file a claim. The insurance representative will need the specific details of your wreck and the names of any people who were in the car.
They’ll also need any documentation you have thus far. When you receive a copy of your police report, you’ll have to submit that to the insurance company as well as any documentation from the hospital or urgent care regarding your injuries. You can often email these to the company or upload them through your online account.
Getting in a car accident is scary, but the process to resolve it shouldn’t be. Keep these five steps in. mind so that if you’re ever in an accident, you know what to do.
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