What should you do immediately following a car accident?
This checklist will help automobile accident victims understand exactly what they need to do in order to protect their rights and ensure no mistakes are made that can end up costing you later.
No matter how carefully you drive, accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. You should always drive defensively by looking out for other drivers. Even if you’re driving carefully, it only takes one party to cause a wreck.
In order to be prepared for the unlikely event of a car crash, we recommend carrying the following items in your car at all times:
- Driver’s license, proof of insurance, and proof of vehicle registration
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Road flares
What to do at the scene of the accident.
There is no doubt being involved in any kind of accident can not only be frightening but overwhelming as well. This can make it quite difficult to think of what you need to do right away. However, it is essential to remain calm and be cooperative with others. Some important steps you need to take while at the accident scene in order to protect your rights include the following:
- Turn on your vehicle’s emergency hazard lights.
- If the accident is minor, move the vehicles to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic.
- Stay at the scene of the accident until all drivers have exchanged insurance information. If there’s an injury and/or police/fire/EMS is called to the scene, remain at the scene until you’ve been dismissed by an officer.
- Check yourself, passengers, and other drivers for any types of injuries. If anyone is injured and requires medical attention, call 9-1-1 immediately.
- Even if no one has been hurt, you may want to call the police in order to have officers conduct an accident report. You can certainly file a claim with the insurance company later, but it will be much easier if a peace officer crash report has been made.
- If at all possible, take photos of the damage to the vehicles and surrounding area.
- Take notes on the details of the accident scene in order to retain as much evidence as possible.
- Obtain the contact/insurance information of any other drivers who were involved, as well as any potential witnesses (including passengers).
- Only sign papers for the police and no one else.
- Never admit guilt or discuss fault. No good can come from it right now, and you risk getting into an needless argument.
What to do once you leave the accident scene.
Once you have exchanged information and left the scene of the accident, there are still a few things to which you must attend.
- If you have any injures at all, SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY. Even if you’re unsure, it never hurts to have a medical evaluation. Some soft-tissue injures (e.g., whiplash) only present symptoms several days after an accident, but failing to document and mitigate your injuries only serves as a way for the insurance company to deny your claim entirely.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions including obtaining any tests he/she feels are necessary, following the treatment plan, and seeing specialists. Return to the doctor if you don’t feel better and let him/her know how you feel. If seeking treatment through a chiropractor, be sure to adhere to your treatment schedule.
- Take photographs of your injuries, and write out a statement of the facts pertaining to the accident in as much detail as you can. Memories fade, so do this quickly.
- If you were injured, seek out a free consultation with a car accident attorney in your area. A property damage claim is one thing, but understand that an injury claim is handled much differently. The insurance company is not acting in your best interests (quite the opposite really), but your attorney is.
- If you were uninjured, contact your insurance company and file a report. Alternatively, you can file a claim directly with the other driver’s insurance company. You are responsible for reporting any accidents, but there is no need to provide a recorded statement or detailed account of the circumstances surrounding the accident.
- Do not provide any information on social media about the crash, the other driver, any injuries you suffered, or any other kind of information that could possibly be used against you.
Knowing what to do following a car accident can greatly reduce the amount of stress you’ll be under, but this doesn’t eliminate the need for an attorney. Luckily, car accident lawyers handle injury claims on a contingency basis, meaning you never have to pay your attorney a penny out of pocket in order to handle your claim from start to finish.
Speak With a Dallas Car Accident Lawyer For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.