Once the initial shock of a car accident wears off, you may feel confused, disoriented and overwhelmed. Assuming you don’t have any injuries that require emergency medical attention, there are a series of steps you need to follow. This will help you get the best results, whether you need to file an insurance claim or get in touch with a car accident lawyer.
Here’s what to do when you’re in a car accident:
- Call the police: The first thing to do is call the police (or 911, if there are severe injuries). If it’s a minor fender bender, they may not show up, but if it’s more serious, you’ll need to fill out a police report. Don’t forget to request a copy for any insurance or litigation needs.
- Avoid admitting fault: When you talk to the other parties, don’t admit fault. “I never saw you coming” might sound innocuous, but it could be twisted to make it sound like you weren’t paying attention. Stick to the facts: names, license plate numbers, insurance policy numbers and companies, addresses and phone numbers. Let your attorney and insurance company handle the rest.
- Take pictures of the scene: Next, if you’re physically capable, take pictures of the accident scene and vehicles from multiple angles. Be sure to get photos of the damage, the weather conditions, any stoplights, stop signs or intersections and any other details that are important to recreating the scene. If you’re physically injured, take photos of that damage, too.
- Write down the details: Shock can quickly take over after an accident, and your memories may be hazy afterward. It’s helpful to write down the details of your accident, including time, date, location, a brief summary of what you remember happening and who was involved. Add this to your driver and insurance information. If the police show up, get the names and badge numbers of any officers who helped you.
- Seek medical help: Even if you think you feel fine, it’s important to seek medical help within three days of your accident. Not all injuries present themselves immediately, and many worsen over time. If you fail to see a doctor, your injuries might not be taken as seriously (by the insurance company or the court) as they should be.
- Call your insurance company: Next, call your insurance company to file a claim. They’ll walk you through the initial process so you can get the ball rolling. If you decide to handle your case on your own, remember not to accept their initial settlement offer—it’s usually a lowball offer.
- Call an attorney: Finally, call an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. Attorneys will help you get the best settlement possible, and if your case needs to go through the litigation process, they will handle it so you can focus on healing.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, the attorneys at Maynard & Joyce, LLC can help. Call us today to schedule a consultation so we can discuss the particulars of your case.