Car accidents can happen to anyone. Even if you are prepared these types of situations can leave you rattled. Emotions can run high, and it might leave your mind blank. You mustn’t let these emotions control you. You need to handle the aftermath of an accident with care to keep yourself protected. It can be easy to say the first thing that comes to your mind. You need to learn the steps to take after a car accident that ensures you are safe legally and helps you to avoid admitting fault in any way.
Ensure Safety First
Before worrying about anything else, prioritize safety. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries and seek medical attention if needed. If you can do so safely, move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent further accidents. Turn on hazard lights, and use cones or flares if available to warn other drivers. Injuries might not seem obvious at first so it’s best to not make assumptions. Getting yourself to safety should be the first thing to do. After the accident, make sure to seek medical attention and let a doctor confirm that you’re fine.
Contact the Authorities
Call 911 or the local police immediately to report the accident. Law enforcement will be able to assess the scene and make sure everyone is alright. Once they have done that, they’ll create a detailed report about the accident. Make sure to do everything they say and give them accurate information. Don’t say anything more than that as they will write everything down. Stick with what you know and don’t go on a tangent.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. Make sure to collect their full name and contact information. Insurance companies and policy numbers are especially important. Write down the vehicle make, model, and license plate number of their specific car. If there were any witnesses at the scene, make sure to get their information as well. Avoid discussing who is at fault with the other driver(s). There’s no need to speculate currently.
Document the Scene
If you have a device that can take pictures, make sure to use it to document the scene. Take pictures of the vehicles and the damage that they sustained. If there are any traffic signs in the immediate area, make sure to jot that down. Look around at the road conditions to see if there’s anything to be concerned about. Anything that feels that should be documented take a picture of it. This evidence can be used to help determine who is responsible for the accident.
Avoid Making Admissions
One of the most critical steps to protect yourself is to avoid admitting fault at the scene. Don’t make any sort of apologies when speaking with the other person. Even if you feel you partially caused the accident. You don’t want to make any statements that can be construed as you are admitting some form of guilt. Leave liability determinations to the experts and legal authorities. Just give your information and end the conversation there.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
It’s required to speak to your insurance company immediately after the accident. You must give them all the details about the accident and work with them during their investigation. However, remember that your insurance company’s interests may not always align with yours, so avoid admitting fault even when speaking with them. They are not entirely trustworthy in these types of cases. If you give them information that makes you look at fault, they might not be willing to help you get your coverage.
Consult an Attorney
If the accident caused serious damage and injuries, then it might be in your best interest to reach out to an attorney in your area. Especially if you feel there might be some legal issues involved. Your attorney will get a good look at you and figure out what you need to do. They’ll help you throughout the legal process, ensuring your rights are protected. Make sure you follow everything your attorney says and don’t do anything unnecessary. Avoid discussing the accident or your injuries online, as insurance companies and opposing parties may use your posts against you.
It can be a lot of work figuring out what to do after a car accident. If you follow the steps exactly, you can keep yourself protected and not admit fault. You don’t want to pay more for an accident if you don’t have to. Opposing parties and insurance companies will do what they can to avoid paying. Don’t be the victim just because you weren’t aware of these issues. Make sure to research a trusted legal team in your area and have them do all the work for you.