What to Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents happen. Many times, these are simple collisions and nobody is seriously injured. Regardless of the gravity of the accident, there are some important steps that one must take after the accident. This is to ensure that you are safe, that you can identify who is at fault, and you can file a claim on your insurance appropriately. Before we discuss your responsibilities, please take note of a few things:
- Ensure that no one is seriously injured. If there are passengers who need medical attention, call 911 immediately.
- Keep your silence about who is to blame. Admitting your fault prematurely can cost you a lot of money.
- Take mental notes of the other driver and what he says. You can use this to your advantage later on.
- Take pictures of the collision. Use these later on as evidence.
- Get details from the other driver such as name, address, plate number and license number.
- If there are witnesses, involve them. Get their statements and get their details, too.
Now let us move on to you responsibilities after the collision. These are things that you must do no matter what.
Ensure a Thorough Police Investigation
Too many times, people involved in a car collision get swayed into making deals with the other party. They want to avoid the hassle of waiting for a police and making insurance claims. In many cases, both parties will deny fault. As a result, the person with a stronger personality wins the argument and gets away from his legal liabilities.
Car accident lawyers agree that to avoid this, you must call the police and ask for an official investigation. This is the only way to ensure that you will get full coverage for your insurance and compensation from the erring party. Both of you will give the police your official and sworn statements, which can be used in the court of law. In some cases, the at-fault driver will refuse to cooperate. In this case, you can ask him to give you a written statement that he was at fault. This statement must be written at the scene. Do not allow them to sway you into waiting for their email. It will not come.
File an Official Accident Report
Some states require an official report regardless how small the accident is, most especially so if the collision happened between two people. In some states, a report is not required if a police officer already conducted an investigation because his report will suffice.
Call Your Insurance Company
This is mandatory. You are required by your insurance company to report crashes or collisions. If the other party’s insurance adjuster asks you for your statement or tells you to sign a document, do not hesitate to say no – you have the right to remain silence. If you sign any document for the other party without consulting with a trusted car accident lawyer first, you may lose out on the compensation you deserve.
Never Settle On Your Own
Some drivers may come from affluent families. As such, they might offer you on-the-spot cash. Never take this, especially if someone is injured. Car crashes can cause injuries that will not manifest until later on. If you took cash from the at-fault driver, it is like waiving your rights for a formal claim.
The best thing to do here is to ensure the safety of your passenger and take him to the hospital. The doctor must give you a documented assessment of the injuries which you will pass on to your insurance company. You must also seriously consider talking to a car accident lawyer so you know your rights and what steps to take to settle a claim.
Get an Expert to Assess the Damage
Whether your car was totaled or just scratched, you need to consult a property damage expert. Most of the time, this person should come from the car’s manufacturer, most especially if your car is brand new. For second hand cars, you need to contact a car mechanic who can assess how much it will cost to repair your vehicle.
All in all, it is highly recommended that you talk to a lawyer. Your best option in dealing with a car accident is to hire somebody who knows the laws pertaining to car accidents and is trained on how to handle situations like this. Cars, being costly and dangerous assets at the same time, prompted the government to create complex legislation that protects everyone from reckless and negligent drivers. Make sure that you use the law to your advantage by letting experts handle your case.
Last Updated: 03-24-2017