Accidents happen when we least expect them. In one moment, you are driving swiftly, enjoying your favorite music and focused on your destination. The next moment, you are involved in a car accident that leaves you feeling shaken up and confused.
The moments immediately following a car accident are crucial. It is essential to stay calm and take the proper steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Remember that whatever you do or don’t do will play a critical role in establishing liability and whether you are entitled to compensation. Here are six things you must do after a car accident to protect your rights.
1. Stop After Car Accident
The most important thing you need to do when you are involved in a car accident is stop. This applies even if the accident is minor and there doesn’t appear to be any damage. Once you have stopped your car, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers of the accident.
Failure to stop turns the accident into a hit and run, which is a severe crime. If you are the victim in the hit-and-run case, try to get the license plate number of the other car. This will give authorities a better chance of finding them.
2. Check for Injuries
After you have stopped your car, it is vital to check for injuries you might have suffered. If you are injured, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t believe you are injured, it is a good idea to see a doctor because some car accident injuries don’t manifest themselves immediately.
If there are passengers in your car, check on their well-being as well. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 for medical assistance.
Remember that you will need the medical records as evidence if you plan to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
3. Document the Accident Scene
Once you have ensured that everyone involved in the accident is safe, it is time to start documenting the scene. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved.
Also, take photos of any visible injuries. If there are skid marks on the road, take pictures of those as well. Documenting as much evidence as possible is essential because it will be helpful later when you make your car accident claim.
4. Get Contact and Insurance Information
The next step is to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. You will need their name, address, phone number, and insurance information.
If there are witnesses to the accident, get their contact information as well. Their testimony may be crucial later on.
If you are not in a position to take the details yourself, request one of your passengers to do it for you.
If you miss capturing this information, you may be forced to check with the police officer who responds to the accident scene for a report. Typically, these details will be captured in the police report.
5. Call the Police
Even if the accident appears to be minor, it is crucial to call the police. The police will create an accident report that will include all the pertinent information about the accident.
The accident report will come in handy later when dealing with insurance companies. It will also be useful if you need to take legal action against the other driver.
The police will also handle any traffic control if necessary, and they will make sure that everyone involved in the accident receives medical attention if it is needed.
6. Do Not Admit Fault
Most importantly, don’t admit fault for the accident. It is not your job to determine who caused the accident. Even if you think you are the one at fault, don’t admit it to the other party.
The police and insurance companies will determine fault and liability based on their investigation. If you admit fault, it could jeopardize any personal injury claim you might have against the other driver.
Also, be careful with the words you utter to the other driver. Some statements such as “I’m sorry” can be construed as an admission of guilt.
In the event that the other driver tries to get you to admit fault, politely decline and wait for the police to arrive.
If you are in a car accident, it is essential to stay calm and take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.
Remember to stop, check for injuries, document the scene, get contact and insurance information from the other drivers involved, call the police, and do not admit fault.
By following these simple steps, you can help make sure that the aftermath of an accident is as smooth as possible.
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