Car accidents happen every day on the road in the U.S., but many people aren’t prepared for them when they happen. Even if you’re a safe driver, unfortunately, you may one day need to know how to handle the situation. Learning the proper procedures in advance can help you make the right decisions in the heat of the moment that lead to better outcomes down the road. Here are the top things to do following a car accident.
Assess the Immediate Situation
First and foremost, check to make sure no one is injured or needs to go to the hospital. If someone is hurt, get them medical attention immediately. If you are injured but think it is not bad, don’t wait to see a doctor. A doctor’s report is very valuable in proving that your injuries were caused by the accident when you go to file a personal injury claim, so don’t create extra hassle for yourself by not going soon.
Call the Police
Always contact the police after your accident, and don’t let the other driver leave before they arrive. A police report is required to file any car accident claim in a large number of states, and you don’t want to be barred from this because you were talked out of not calling them. The police can also help determine who was responsible for causing the accident when the insurance companies start investigating.
Gather Essential Information
Exchange information with the other driver, including names, contact info and their insurance companies and policies. If they were at fault for the crash, you’ll need to call their insurance company to file a claim. In addition, you should take pictures of the accident and collect any witness statements (if available) to use to help prove who is at-fault. Many insurance companies will fight over this if it is unclear because they do not want to pay the claims, so don’t give them any reason to doubt your claim.
Contact Your Insurance
It’s important to inform your own insurance company of the accident shortly after it has happened. They can help guide you through next steps and how to file a claim.
If you’re having trouble with any of the insurance companies involved, it may benefit you to consult with a personal injury lawyer, like from Darrell Castle & Associates, about your case. They can clarify how state laws impact your case and guide you when it comes to dealing with insurance claims adjusters and other matters.