What To Do If You Are In a Car Accident
Car accidents happen every day, whether we like it or not. It may happen to us or someone we know; however, they are going to happen. The question ultimately becomes, what is my responsibility when a car accident occurs?
After an accident, you as the driver or passenger may be rattled, frantic, or even badly injured. However, you must keep your wits about you. Your actions directly following the incident can play directly into the legal, mental, and physical characteristics of remediation, which are sure to follow. The minutes you spend talking to the others involved, writing up a police report, and scanning the accident landscape is crucial to your long-term success. Here are a few guidelines:
- Stay calm: Accidents happen! Yes, it is scary and upsetting. However, the calmer you are, the more details you can pick up, and the easier it is to move forward. Remember to stay calm and be vigilant about your surroundings. Take time to think through your next steps and what you need to do in the following moments.
- Don’t apologize: Never apologize in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Apologizing is often mistaken for admitting fault. Even if you think you may be at fault, you’re not in a position to know what legal fault is immediately after the accident. Apologizing is the gateway to misunderstanding and inconsistency. It is better to gather information than spend the majority of the time finding synonyms for sorry. Ask others involved if they are okay, but don’t say that you’re sorry or apologize.
- Contact the police: Calling the police documents that the accident occurred. It sends an officer to the scene who may later be a valuable witness. In fact, calling the police is required in most cases. Failure to call the police for whatever reason can seriously hurt your long-term response to the accident.
- Find witnesses: Financial recovery for a car accident often depends on fault and what happened to cause the accident. Witnesses can be vital to proving your case, especially if the other side contests legal fault. Witnesses provide the extra detail and description you need to protect yourself. They provide consistency to back up your story.
- Take photos of the accident: Photos may capture things that you don’t notice, or things that you don’t know are important. They say pictures give a thousand words, and this even goes for accidents. Snap pictures and provide yourself with the necessities you will need to know in the future. Later, your legal team can help you sort through and determine what’s important. These photos may serve as valuable evidence to determine fault and the extent of the damages.
- Gather information: The more information you have, the better. There is no such thing as information overload in a car accident. What you gather can either make or break your experience. Keep information about your medical treatment and costs. Gather police reports and witness information. Don’t throw anything away until you’ve talked to your attorney.
- Take time to remember the details: Cases can be won and lost on the details. Time can quickly dull memories and specific details. The best way to remember the little things is to write them down. Even if you’re not sure how it may be important later, take note of everything that comes to mind.
- Examine injuries: If injuries occur, it is important to seek the correct avenues for healing and moving on. Whether this involves the insurance companies or others, certain details can help in providing the best experience. Injuries in a car accident are often subtle. You may have serious injuries and not even know it. Be sure to err on the side of caution and get checked out to document any injuries and rule out further harm.
The more proactive you are in all the areas above, the easier it will be when the dust has settled and you need to file an insurance claim. The payoffs of preparing and gathering information in advance are well worth the time it takes to familiarize yourself with the protocol. The steps that you take now can ultimately result in a favorable result for your car accident claim.