Knowing exactly what to do following a car accident can be difficult, as it’s not something most of us practice very often. Injuries can be severe and emotions often run high. When an accident happens, there are important things that you need to do at the scene of the accident and afterwards. Print out the following list of things to do after an accident, and store it in your car to help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Stay at the Scene
Don’t leave the scene of an accident until authorities have said it’s okay to do so. If you leave, especially in the event that someone is injured or killed, you can face serious criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver.
Check on all Occupants
Before assessing damage, verify that everybody involved in the accident is okay. Call for medical help for anybody who needs it, and do not move a person who is unconscious or who has neck and back pain unless there is an immediate hazard that requires them to be moved.
Record the names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, get their names, numbers, and addresses as well. Always try to be courteous when talking to other drivers.
Though you should be polite, do not apologize for anything at the scene of the accident. Apologizing can mean you are admitting legal liability for what happened, and it may not be clear who is really at fault right away.
Notify your Insurance
You need to let your insurance company know when you’ve been in an accident. Cooperate with them and tell them the truth about how the accident happened and about the extent of your injuries. If the insurance company finds out you have lied about any aspect of the situation, you can be denied coverage for the accident.
Photograph any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible after the crash. Clear photos help your insurance adjuster determine how much you should be compensated for damages to your car, and can help in the event you go to court. Pictures of your care before the accident can offer a comparison to show the true extent of the damage sustained.
Do not Settle with Insurance Company Early
Most of time Insurance Companies want a quick settlement because that is what is in their best interest. Not yours! It is important to remember once money is accepted it’s over. Issues that come up later are your problem not the insurance companies. Need to see a doctor after settlement, that’s on your dime. Need to pay back your health insurance company, that’s on your dime. Did you adequately consider Medicare/Medicaid issues? Did Insurance company tell you they’d pay bill? Do you trust they will do that? Remember how hard it is to get your insurance adjuster on phone? There are lots of variables in even the simplest accident case. To best protect yourself consult with an Attorney who is familiar with accident cases.
Consult an Attorney
If anybody sustained injuries during the accident, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney. Not all Law Firms handle personal injury claims. Look for an attorney who regularly handles motor vehicle accident case. The team here at Lanzotti & Rau can help you maximize your compensation if you’re injured.
Don’t leave compensation on the table or leave yourself vulnerable to legal trouble after an accident. Call us today at 573.335.9300 to schedule a consultation.