Accidents are a part of life. They are so prevalent, accidents are the fourth leading cause of death, and car accidents are a major contributor to this statistic. However, far more people are injured during motor vehicle accidents, which can have a lasting impact on long-term health.
The legal team at Siegfried & Jensen has spent more than 25 years helping people recover compensation after car accidents. The vehicles may have changed over the years, but they still advise people to take the same steps below after an accident to minimize injury and major expenses.
Even if no one appears to be injured you still need to call 9-1-1 for several reasons:
- A police officer will be notified. They will make a record of the accident, which could be crucial if a dispute occurs.
- The police officer will help secure the area and get the road cleared. Many secondary accidents occur because of debris in the road.
- Someone may actually be hurt but the outward signs don’t show immediately.
The police officer will get statements from both parties and make notes about the general scene. They will also ask that both drivers provide a copy of their current auto insurance policy. If one of the drivers appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs the officer will take action to verify if this was a factor in the accident.
Call Your Insurance Company
After the police have been alerted you’ll need to call your insurance company to let them know an accident’s occurred. You can provide them with details and begin the claims process right then and there. Your insurance company can also take proactive measures in reaching out to the other driver’s insurance provider.
The last thing you want is for the other driver’s insurance company to take the reigns after a car accident. It’s unfortunate, but they aren’t looking out for your best interest even if you were seriously injured because their policyholder was negligent.
Get the Other Driver’s Information
Even though your insurance company will help you sort out the details, the drivers of both vehicles should exchange information. There are three key pieces of information that needs to be gathered:
- The driver’s personal contact information.
- The contact information for their insurance company.
- Their license plate number.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for the at-fault driver to provide bogus contact information for themselves and their insurance company. This is often the case if the person doesn’t actually have insurance, is under-insured or has had a number of accidents. That’s why getting their license plate number is important. With that information, you’ll at least be able to track down the person who has registered the vehicle.
It’s also best to call the person’s insurance company while you are still at the scene of the accident. The call is strictly to verify that the information the other driver provided is accurate. Do not discuss the accident with the insurance company. It’s a perfect scenario of what you say could be used against you.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer If Needed
If you or someone else in the vehicle was injured during the accident it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. No one likes the idea of a lawsuit, but that’s often the result if someone was seriously hurt.
The other party will be doing everything they can to minimize the compensation they have to pay. Insurance companies have full in-house legal teams that are trained in handling these types of claims, which means you need someone on your side protecting your best interests.
A lawyer will not only provide legal guidance they can also take the burden off your shoulders while you’re trying to adjust to life after a car accident. They can also help speed the process along because they know how the system works and what to expect at each stage.
A car accident can be a life-altering experience. The actions you take right after the accident can chart the course for what happens next and what type of compensation you receive for recovery.
This article is from Jenna Brown. Jenna is a freelance blogger who is mainly focused on business innovation and breaking stories in business. Jenna has been blogging since college where she studied marketing and has merged her love of keying stories into copy writing work as well as plenty of reading and writing for fun! Find and follow on her new Twitter here! Also seen here.