What are the steps to take if you’re in a vehicle accident? When a car crash happens, your injuries may be severe, and your emotions overwhelming. However, there are crucial steps to follow at the scene of the crash and immediately after. Here’s a list of the essential steps that an automobile accident attorney in Henderson would tell you to take after a car accident, if possible.
1. Don’t Leave the Scene
Stay at the scene until it’s the right time to leave. Because if you leave, especially where a person has been severely injured or killed, it could look like you were trying to flee the scene, and you may face criminal charges for being a hit-and-run driver.
2. Check on Others
Before you start complaining about how damaged your car is, make sure that other people involved in the accident are okay. Call the ambulance for anyone who needs immediate medical attention. If a person is complaining of back or neck pain, or if they are unconscious, don’t move them. Instead, wait until qualified emergency medical responders arrive.
3. Contact the Police
If anyone is severely injured, dead, or there’s significant property damage, contact the police. Ask the responding officers to file a police report detailing the accident’s events and make sure you get their names and badge numbers.
4. Exchange Information
Before you leave the scene, get the insurance information, names, phone numbers, driver’s license number, and addresses of everyone involved in the accident. If there were witnesses, also obtain their contact information. When checking on others, or when talking to witnesses and other drivers, please be courteous and cooperative.
However, do not confess or apologize for anything. For instance, if you say things like, “I’m very sorry. I was looking at my phone, and I didn’t see you there! Are you okay?” you may be admitting fault for what happened. Note that anything you say at the scene of the crash could be used to deny your claim and, even worse, be used as evidence in a lawsuit against you. Immediately after a car wreck, it can be challenging to determine fault. For this reason, try not to admit fault or any guilt unnecessarily or subconsciously.
5. Talk to Witnesses
Talk to people who saw the whole thing and ask each of them what they saw. Don’t forget to get their contact info and addresses. Also, ask residents if they’ve seen other crashes in the same spot.
6. Contact Your Auto Insurance Provider
Immediately notify your insurance provider about the crash. Be cooperative when dealing with your insurer and be honest about what happened and the severity of your injuries. Don’t lie; if your insurance provider finds out that you lied or intentionally omitted essential details of the accident, you risk a possible denial of coverage for the car accident.
7. Monitor Your Medical Treatment
If you spent time in the ER or had any surgery or other appointments with medical specialists, ask for a copy of all your medical records when you’re discharged. Make sure you have a detailed report of all treatments and medications you receive. Also, ask for copies of bills as these come in handy when proving your medical expenses later.
Keeping track of medical bills is relatively easy, but proving pain and suffering is a whole different story. If possible, keep a journal of sorts expressing how your injuries (emotional and/or physical) affect your life. Note any missed workdays, any basic activities you can’t do, and the impact of your injuries on your family life.
8. Take Photos
If your phone was not damaged in the crash, use it to take pictures of any damage to your car immediately after the accident. Photographs of the scene help both the insurance adjuster and the court (if the case goes to court) to determine how much you should recover for damages. Also, photos are an excellent way to reveal the extent of the damage done to your vehicle.
9. Ask for a Property Damage Valuation
Are you convinced that the insurance company undervalued your claim? If so, ask your insurer for their property damage valuation. Also, get two independent car repair or replacement estimates and compare. Politely inform your insurance company of your concerns. If you can’t agree on the value of your car, consult a reputable automobile accident attorney in Henderson.
10. Don’t Post or Talk About the Incident on Social Media
No matter how tempted you might feel to talk about your car accident on social media, don’t! Don’t discuss the wreck with anyone other than your attorney, the police, and your insurance provider. If called by a representative of the other insurance company, politely ask them to contact your insurer or lawyer to schedule an interview. Also, make sure you tell your attorney and insurer about the call.
11. Be on Your Guard When Considering Early Settlement Offers
Always be on your guard when considering accepting any settlement offers from the other driver’s insurance company. Confirm with your doctor that all your physical injuries are treated. Note that there are injuries that won’t show up until many months after the accident. For this reason, don’t be in a rush to accept early settlement offers, and consult your lawyer before signing anything.
12. Hire an Automobile Accident Attorney in Henderson
If someone sustained injuries after the crash, it’s best to have an experienced attorney in your corner. A lawyer can help maximize your compensation for your injuries. Many car accident lawyers will take cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t have to pay any upfront fees and only get to pay if you’re awarded compensation. Call an automobile injury law firm in Henderson today to learn more.