Don’t Know What To Do After A Car Accident? This Works For You
For many people, a car accident is a once-in-a-lifetime situation. It’s an incredibly stressful event that can be confusing at first. A minor fender bender can leave you in shock. Be proactive by learning about what to do after a car accident now. You’ll be prepared in the future if this situation arises.
Stop the vehicle
Always stop after coming into contact with an object or person. There are legal ramifications of your actions. It’s a courtesy and a law to stop the vehicle and ascertain the situation. Ideally, pull the vehicle over to a safe location. If you’re on the freeway or another dangerous area, motion to the other driver that you’re pulling off onto a side street. Use your hazard lights to indicate that you’re aware of the situation. Taking off from any accident is considered a hit-and-run crime. Both the police and local attorneys understand this scenario so be aware of your role as a responsible adult after a collision.
Deal with emergency injuries first
Regardless of fault, deal with serious injuries first. Call an ambulance if anyone has physical injuries. Focus on the human side of the accident first. Anyone in the vehicles can be hurt from the impact. If children are involved, an ambulance should be an automatic response by the adults. The first responders, check out everyone to verify their health status. They might be whisked away by the paramedics in some cases.
Remember that some injuries don’t appear right away. Whiplash is a condition that arises several days after the accident. Be observant about your health and how others reacted to the accident at the time.
Don’t talk about the details
It’s a natural reaction to talk about the accident that just occurred. The topic is the first thing on your mind. However, refrain from speaking about any details. The police and insurance company are ultimately in charge of who’s at fault. Admitting any details to the other party might compromise the investigation. Tell your side of the story to the investigators when they ask for the details. Be as honest as possible. The accident’s shock may make the details a bit confusing but breath through the process. Anything other than the truth will be obvious in time.
Notify the police
Call the police if the paramedics didn’t already have to service your accident. It’s critical to have a police report associated with the accident, regardless of its severity. The report becomes a legal document for your insurance company.
Contacting a lawyer if the need arises
In some cases, a minor accident can have complex issues that require a lawyer’s assistance. These professionals know how it works to litigate a car-accident concern and win. They’ll often use the police report as a starting point for your case. There’s always two sides to every story, and your site deserves to be heard.
Document the other driver’s information
Write down the driver’s information. Be sure to have these details, such as:
- Phone number
- Insurance information
- VIN and license-plate numbers
This information is important because it’s how the insurance company will contact the other driver. Remember that the license plate isn’t always the most important piece of information. The person’s name and VIN number are actually the main details to write down. They identify the exact vehicle and the person so that any costs can be directed to him or her.
Write down the accident details
Another set of details involves the accident scene itself. Be sure to write down these highlights, such as:
- Cross streets
- Vehicle directions along the street
- Local weather
These details are important when it comes to fault. A foggy day may have made a left-turn blinker difficult to see, for example. If your accident involves more than one object or vehicle, the details can be too complex to remember off the top of your head. Documenting as much of the location as possible gives you a chance to prove that you weren’t in the wrong.
Call the Insurance company
With the police report filed and everyone cared for from a medical perspective, you can now contact the auto-insurance company. Depending on the company, filing a claim is performed over the phone or through online forms. In fact, the process is usually simple and straight-forward. Simply move intuitively through the form as you read the directions. After filing the claim, an adjuster should contact you. He or she will ask any pertinent questions, visit the damaged vehicle and create a quote. Every accident is unique, so it’s the adjuster’s job to determine the percentage of fault and how much payout is allocated to the parties.
Don’t speak to the other party after the accident
There’s absolutely no reason why you should speak to the other party after the accident. It’s the insurance company’s job to perform this service. If you receive a call from the other party, direct them to their insurance company for any clarifications. Speaking to the other party may create issues that are otherwise avoided when the adjusters work with each other. There’s no emotion or defensive communication happening between the professionals. You’re paying for the insurance coverage, so allow them to perform this service that’s part of the policy.
Keep up communication with the Insurance company
It can take some time to reach a settlement in auto-accident cases. Keep in touch with your insurance company. Use email as a way to keep up with the conversation. It may take a few weeks to complete the investigation. In the meantime, your medical bills and car repairs should be in process or completed all together. Ask as many questions as you need when the settlement comes in. If you’re partially at fault, you may owe some money. Be calm and inquire about the investigation. The adjuster should be able to give you a clear explanation of the company’s findings.
Throughout the aftermath, maintain a calm demeanor. It’s understandable to be mad, but this emotion won’t help the situation. Follow the basic steps so that you can recover and move forward with your life.