After a car accident, there are certain things that you should do in order to protect your rights and ensure that you’re compensated for your losses.
- Stay in your vehicle and call 911 to report the accident. Follow their instructions.
- If uninjured, attempt to check on all parties and/or secure the accident scene.
- Exchange information with the other driver (name, address, phone, insurance info).
- Collect evidence (pictures, video, witness info) and record your recollection of events.
- Even if your injuries are minor, do not attempt to tough it out. Seek medical attention.
- Notify your (or the other drivers’) insurance company of the accident and open a claim.
- Keep a file of all related documents and expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
- Do not discuss money with the insurance company until you have finished treatment.
- Once recovered, have your lawyer prove up damages and make an official demand.
- If an agreeable settlement cannot be reached, your attorney will proceed to litigation.
If your accident resulted in property damage only (no injuries), the claims process is generally pretty standard and can usually be handled directly with the insurance company. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for car accidents resulting in an injury.
If you’re ever injured in a crash, it’s strongly advisable that you discuss your case with an attorney before agreeing to anything with the insurance company. While we’d all prefer a quick settlement, the truth is that a personal injury attorney can make a huge impact on the value of your car accident case.