What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
- July 12, 2023 |
- Car Accidents
Accidents happen. They are quite common. Even if you have been involved in one before, you might not know what steps you should take following the accident. After all, even if no one is injured, accidents are jarring and stressful. There will probably be a lot of emotions going through your mind, but you need to remain calm, and follow these steps. If you skip a step, you could put your physical health, well-being, legal rights, and financial future at risk. Here is what to do to ensure you put yourself in a good position to receive the compensation you deserve.
1. Call 911
The priority after any accident should be your health and safety, and a personal injury lawyer in Springfield, MA can guide you through the legal aspects of this process. One of the first things you should do after a car accident is to call 911. At the very least, you should request a police response, and someone involved may even need an ambulance so they can be assessed by EMTs.
You may think the accident is minor, and you may not feel injured, but if you want to pursue legal action later, it will be difficult for you to do so if police do not respond to create a report. You can check yourself for injuries while you wait. Do not assume you are unscathed in a fender bender.
2. Ensure your safety
After you have done a head-to-toe scan of yourself to verify you are not seriously injured, check on any passengers. One of the things you should do after an accident is to remain calm while waiting for the authorities to arrive.
Getting safe may also mean you will need to move your vehicle out of traffic and to the side of the road. As you handle the immediate concerns, remember that a Springfield motorcycle accident lawyer can offer guidance on what to do next. You want to get out of the way, but do not leave the accident scene. If you cannot move your vehicle, you should leave it and move yourself to a safe place. Staying with it could be very dangerous. If it is not drivable, request roadside assistance.
3. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, and check for property damage
You need to know if your vehicle was damaged and where. Once you do an initial check of your vehicle, you should take pictures and videos of the accident scene, provided you can do so safely.
If you can get photos, take in as much detail as possible so there is little room to argue about how the scene looked. Get different angles and views of:
- Vehicles and vehicle damage;
- Debris on the roadway;
- The road conditions;
- Street or traffic signs and traffic lights;
- Visible injuries, like scrapes and bruises.
The photos and videos you capture should not be posted on social media. Insurance adjusters like to crawl the various platforms to find evidence against you, so be wary of posting anything at all.
You can also send yourself a text message or an email of what happened from your perspective. You can include the date and time, how fast you were driving, and information about the weather and visibility. It is common for people’s memories to fade about all the details.
4. Exchange information with other drivers
Gather information about the other people involved in the accident, including any passengers. Here is the useful information you should have:
- Full name of driver and any passenger;
- Addresses and phone numbers;
- Insurance information, including policy numbers and a contact number for the company;
- Driver’s licenses number or photograph of the other driver’s license;
- License plate numbers;
- Type, make, model, and year of the vehicles involved.
Do not admit fault and avoid discussing with the other driver who is at fault for the accident. It may be tempting to argue about the circumstances of the crash, but you do not want to accidentally admit something that will hurt you later on. It is important to be pleasant and non-confrontational.
Do not share unnecessary personal information like your Social Security number or your policy limits.
5. Speak with the police officers
When the police officers arrive, tell them what happened. Do not admit fault to the officers. The only thing you can do is stick to the facts and be honest with them about how the accident happened from your perspective. Try not to worry about what anyone else is saying. Neither you nor your passengers should make any negative comments about another driver or speculate about something you are unsure of. Anything you say can be used against you in your claim.
If the accident is minor, you may think calling the police is unnecessary. However, Massachusetts law requires you to report an accident in certain circumstances. Failure to do so can have legal consequences, so you do not want to run the risk of not having a police report.
Ask the responding officers when a copy of the report will be available, and make sure you understand how to get it.
If you can, write down the names and badge numbers of the officers you talk to. You may need them as witnesses later.
6. Talk to witnesses
Talk to witnesses to the accident if there are any. Make sure to go into any nearby businesses and ask if anyone saw the accident. You can also ask the businesses if they happen to have cameras recording the street. Take down the names and contact information for anyone you talk to. Their unbiased views will be beneficial in the claims process.
7. See a doctor as soon as possible
Sometimes you will not feel injured right away, but it is still recommended that you see a doctor as soon as possible. You will have a lot of adrenaline going through your system following any accident, which can mask some severe injuries. Seeing a doctor will ensure your injuries are not overlooked. Better safe than sorry.
Ask for a copy of your medical records before you leave and keep them safe. The evidence showing the extent of your injuries will go to show the value of your claim and help get you compensation.
8. Notify your insurance company
Your insurance policy requires you to notify your insurance carrier about the accident as soon as possible. It is important to contact your insurance company within a day or two of the accident.
If you speak to an adjuster yourself, be sure to stick to the facts. If you can, make notes about what the company asked you and the information you provided.
9. Schedule a consultation with an accident attorney
Once you are sure you have a plan in place for your medical recovery, you need to schedule a consultation with an accident attorney. A car accident attorney will ask you about all the steps above, including whether:
- Anyone was hurt and the extent of the injuries;
- You spoke to the police;
- There are any witnesses or surveillance video footage;
- You took photos or videos;
- You spoke to your insurance company, and what you told them;
- Your doctor billed your insurance;
- You have or need a reasonable rental vehicle;
- You are making plans for fixing the damage to your vehicle.
If you have followed the steps above, your consultation with your accident attorney will go smoothly. It will be easier to determine whether you can exercise your legal rights and file a claim for recovery.
Cava Law Firm Handles Auto Accident Cases
Hopefully this step-by-step guide will prove useful if you are wondering what to do after a car accident. Just remember, it is important to get yourself to safety, ensure everyone is okay, and get help.
Discover Why Winning is NO Accident
If you have been involved in a car accident and are seeking legal representation, Cava Law Firm would be honored to represent you. We offer free case consultations.
A car crash attorney is a great asset following any auto accident. Let us review the evidence from your case, give you legal advice, and see if you are entitled to compensation. Call us today to find out how we can fight for your rights: (413) 737-3430 or (413) 781-CAVA (2282).