Car accidents can be incredibly shocking and frightening events, especially if you are unprepared. As emotions run high in the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to focus on the task at hand and know what to do after your collision. However, there are certain things you can do following a crash to protect yourself and your interests.
If you are involved in a car accident:
- Stop: Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even if it seems minor. Fleeing a collision is a crime known as a “hit and run” and can carry serious criminal consequences.
- Check all involved parties: Your first priority should be to make sure everyone involved is alright. If anyone appears hurt, do not attempt to move them and call for an ambulance.
- Call the police: If there has been a considerable amount of property damage, serious physical injuries, or death, you are required by law to call the police. The responding officer will contain the scene and create an accident report. Be sure to obtain the names and badge numbers of any police who assist you.
- Exchange information: Be sure to record the names, addresses, phone numbers, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all involved drivers. Be cordial and friendly, but do not discuss the accident. Even seemingly innocent statements such as “I did not see you,” or “I’m sorry” can be misconstrued as an admission of fault, possibly holding you liable for the resulting damages.
- Speak to witnesses: If there were witnesses to your crash, ask them what they saw. Record their contact information and ask any locals if they have seen similar collisions in the same location.
- Take photographs: Gather as much evidence of the damage as you can after your collision. Take detailed photos of your injuries, skid marks, damage to all involved vehicles, and property damage. These photos will help your insurance adjuster determine the value of your claim.
- Tell your insurance company: It is imperative you promptly inform your insurance company of your collision and cooperate with them. Be honest about the extent of your injuries and the facts of your crash. If your insurance provider should have reason to believe that you have lied to them, you could face serious consequences and possibly lose coverage for your collision.
- See a doctor: Always seek a thorough medical evaluation after a collision. Even if you feel fine, there is still a possibility that your injuries have delayed symptoms and will worsen with time. Keep a detailed record of all treatments and medications you receive, as well as a journal of how your injuries have affected your daily life. Include any days your injuries have forced you to miss work, the extent of your pain, and any daily routines that your injuries prevent you from being able to perform.
- Obtain an independent repair estimate: If you are unsatisfied by your insurance company’s damage valuation, obtain two independent repair estimates or replacement quotes and assertively inform your adjuster of your concerns. If an agreement cannot be reached, consider mediation or consult with an attorney.
- Protect your rights: The last thing you need after a collision is to be stonewalled by an uncooperative insurance company. A skilled car accident attorney can handle the legal heavy lifting on your behalf and fight to maximize your recovery.
Antelope Valley Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a car accident, our Lancaster car accident lawyers at Accident Attorneys can provide the powerful legal counsel you need to assist you with your personal injury claim. With more than 75 years of combined legal experience and more than a billion dollars recovered in insurance settlements and jury verdicts, you can choose us with confidence knowing your rights will be protected.
Call (661) 261-4929 or schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case review today to get started.