9 Steps to Take after a Car Accident
Unfortunately, accidents, whether minor or major, occur, and you are not sure of the actions to take if you get involved in one. You don’t know whether to call the police first, your lawyer, or the insurance company. You may also be battling with questions of whether it is legal to capture photos of the crash scene or settle for an out-of-court settlement. Here are nine steps to guide you.
1.Determine Whether Anyone is Hurt
No matter how minor the accident was, don’t dare leave the site of the accident. All that should be ringing in your mind is safety; you will have time to do everything else later, says a Baltimore Personal Injury Attorney. Ensure that everybody is safe and immediately call for medical assistance if you or one of the passengers is hurt.
2. Get yourself and your vehicle out of danger.
Carefully steer your vehicle to the side of the road if the accident wasn’t too severe to leave room for free traffic flow. While at it, remember to set up reflective emergency triangles, set up flares, or put your hazard lights on to alert other road users of the accident. However, if the accident was more severe or people are hurt, says a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer, leave the vehicle at the accident scene. Don’t try to maneuver it to the side; just get out carefully.
Note that you should be very cautious when getting out of the car, even if you have no signs of injury, especially if the car crash happens on a busy street or highway. You may have internal injuries and may not be thinking clearly, which could endanger you further.
3. Call 911
Assuming you were not hurt during the car crash and are out of harm’s way, the next step you should take is to call law enforcement officers. When they arrive, jot down their contact information, badge numbers, and officers’ names.
However, as important as reporting an accident is, the police may not come if there is a minor collision in some areas. If they don’t come, get a copy of the report from the nearest police station. You can also get a copy from the insurance adjuster dealing with your claim, says Baltimore Auto Accident Attorneys.
4. Collect crucial information
Capture as many photos of the scene as you can from all angles. Luckily, most people own smartphones that can capture high-definition pictures. Alternatively, use the traditional pen and paper to record all parties involved in the car crash’s names, addresses, driver license numbers, and phone numbers. If, by chance, the driver’s details don’t match up with car insurance papers or registration, ask for more information to establish the relationship between that driver and the car owner.
Other important information includes vehicle identification numbers, year, color, make and model, and license plate number. Note down the insurance policy number and the company’s contact details in case the other driver fails to report the accident. If possible, try to coerce any willing witnesses to furnish you with the details of what they saw and their contact information.
According to Maryland Car Accident Lawyers, never share any personal information such as the coverage of your insurance policy or social security number with anyone at the auto accident scene.
5. Document the scene
Document the scene as much as possible with the help of your smartphone’s voice memo features, video, and camera. Note where the vehicles took the impact; was it behind, bumper, driver’s side, or the front side? Take photos of the whole car with close-up pictures of the damage on both cars and other parties or property.
Don’t forget to record the street name and address and the position of the cars before and after the accident. According to Baltimore Car Accident Attorneys, this information will help the adjuster to re-create the scene when you file a claim. If possible, sketch a diagram of the accident scene and dictate the information of the occurrence to a phone recorder when you still clearly remember the details. Don’t forget to include information on weather and visibility.
6. Avoid unnecessary roadside talk on responsibility
Remember that there are eyewitnesses at the crash scene, and the other driver might record their version of what they saw. Avoid discussing with anybody the party you think is responsible for the accident, warns Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers, because anything can be used against you when filing an insurance claim.
Additionally, the chances are that you are agitated and not thinking clearly, thus likely to give incorrect information. Emotions can soar between both parties when an accident happens, and if you think that the other driver is aggressive or impaired, don’t argue with them. Just stay in your car if it isn’t extensively damaged and keep quiet until law enforcement officers arrive.
8. Notify your insurance provider
Sometimes the damage might be minor, and both parties may deem it fit to avoid the long and tedious process of making insurance claims and settling for a cash deal, but remember, shortcuts are always wrong cuts. You will bear all liability for any damages stemming from the crash that may manifest later. If you are sure it wasn’t your fault, don’t dare leave the site of the accident minus a police report.
The chance is the party at fault lacks valid, up-to-date insurance cover. Calling your insurance provider will help them look for other viable options. For example, they can waive your liability so that you avoid paying deductibles or look for any other loopholes in your insurance coverage that might help you address the issue at hand.
9.Visit a doctor
After leaving the car accident scene, advise a Baltimore Personal Injury Lawyer, see your doctor. You may look and feel fine, then only for some injuries to manifest after some hours or days. The force from the impact could potentially damage your spine and head, which may not seem apparent at the time. If you feel excruciating pain or experience unusual symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Did you know that crash-related injuries must be included in your insurance claim? Make sure you document any harm arising from the accident.
Hire an Attorney!
Your car was damaged, and probably you or your passengers got injured in the accident. Hiring experienced legal counsel will maximize your chances of getting compensated, and they can better defend you if you are the guilty party. Don’t fear the costs because attorneys only receive the agreed amount if you receive a settlement or get awarded for damages. Consult an experienced injury lawyer from the Law Offices of Kim Parker today!