A car accident can be very frightening and you may be left angry, confused, and hurt in the aftermath. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed after a crash, but it’s important to focus on taking the steps you will need to take to protect your legal rights and prepare for the claims process ahead of you. Here’s what you should do in the aftermath of a crash.
Assess Your Situation
Determine whether anyone is hurt. If so, call 911 to have the police and ambulance respond to the accident. Always call the police even with a minor accident so the responding officer can complete a police report for your insurance company.
As soon as you are able, begin documenting the accident. Tell the responding officer everything you can remember, but say so if you can’t remember something. Never say you are uninjured or fine, as this will be reflected in the police report and it may not even be true. Document the accident, including pictures of the crash and factors that may have contributed. Throughout your recovery and beginning as soon as possible, take notes of everything you remember.
Contact the Insurance Company
Notify the insurance company as soon as you can. Most car insurance policies require that an accident be reported as soon as safe to do so. A delay in this reporting can damage your ability to recover compensation through an injury claim.
Seek Medical Care
One of the worst things you can do is delaying medical attention after an accident. Even if you think you are fine, schedule a visit with your primary care physician or visit an urgent care or ER if your injuries seem more serious. A delay in medical care can be detrimental to your injury claim as the insurance company may claim you are exaggerating your injuries or that they are not related to the accident. Along with immediate medical attention, make sure you follow up with your doctors as needed and follow all doctor instructions.
Contact an Injury Attorney
Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis. This means you will have no out-of-pocket costs but gain valuable legal representation to build your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and protect your rights. According to Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd.,
hiring a lawyer can also help you focus on your recovery rather than the documentation and negotiation side of an injury claim,
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, but do your best to follow these guidelines to not only protect your health but also safeguard your claim if you are seriously injured and need to file a claim.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.