What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Car Accident
Three million people a year are injured in car accidents in the United States. Two million of those involved in car accidents have permanent injuries. These are sobering numbers but a reality for all of us to face. Nobody chooses a car accident, but you should make a plan to be ready just in case. There are a few things you should know and do if you find yourself in a car accident.
What are those things? Keep reading, and we’ll walk you through everything.
Check for Injuries
Injuries can happen in any type of car accident. Whether the accident is big or small, so you want to check yourself first. After you have made sure you are fine, check on the other passengers in the car.
Anyone who is injured in a car accident should assess themselves before moving. If they have severe pain with the slightest motion, wait for medical personnel before moving them.
Get Out of Harms Way
After a car accident, you want to get to a safe area. If the cars are not seriously damaged, you may need to move them out of traffic if possible. Some states require this by law, so check with your state to see the policy.
California requires drivers to move the vehicles unless there is an injury or a death. If you can’t move the car, you and your passengers need to get a safe distance away from the accident for your protection.
Call the Police
You should call the police for any type of accident. You will need to provide a police report to the insurance companies. If the police cannot come, you can file a report to the nearest police station.
Many states have time limits for how soon you have to report an accident.
Get Car Accident Documentation
One of the most important aspects of an accident is documentation. The police report is the first thing to get, but here are some other things you can do for documentation.
Take Pictures and Videos
Take plenty of pictures and videos of the cars and the area around the accident with your phone. If there are skid marks or any other road hazard, you want to document them.
Collect pictures of the license plates and the vehicles involved in the accident. Take lots of pictures from different angles.
Write Down Contacts
Take the time to write down the police officers who respond. Get their full name and badge number for future reference. You also want to get all of the contact information of the other people involved in the accident.
If there are witnesses, talk to them and ask if you can get their contact information. They could help you in case there are questions about the way the accident happened.
Don’t Say Too Much
You don’t have to stay silent, but you don’t want to assign or accept any blame afterward. Your lawyer can guide you on what to say and how to say it. Even if you are to blame, you want to protect yourself after the accident.
Don’t Accept Handshake Deals
Some people may not get insurance companies involved. You don’t want to do this because insurance companies require a police report to become involved.
If someone shakes hands with you and then later sues you, you won’t have any supportive evidence. The police report is a minimum. Your lawyer can guide you if someone wants to negotiate without insurance involvement.
Call a Lawyer
Calling a lawyer guarantees someone who is there to protect you. They aren’t there to blame anyone; they are there to support you. Here are some of the benefits of calling a lawyer.
Your car accident may seem minor, but sometimes the minor accidents end up causing major problems. An experienced auto-related accident lawyer will help you make the right decisions after an accident.
They will often give you a free consultation to help you see if you are getting what you deserve after an accident.
Help Establish Liability
Sometimes in accidents, it is hard to establish liability. A lawyer knows how to gather the right evidence to show liability. They know how to fight for you with the insurance companies who try to deny your claims
Protect Your Rights
Minor injuries often turn into major injuries over time. Those injured in a car accident can end up needing different types of medical services for the rest of their life.
This is why some insurance companies will seek to settle payments quickly when injuries have happened. A lawyer helps you understand the full benefits you are entitled to so you don’t suffer in the long run.
They also understand the statute of limitations and how they apply to your injury. In California, you have two years after you become aware of your injury to apply for proper compensation.
Be Prepared if You’re Involved in a Car Accident
Preparation before a car accident will help you to stay calm in the midst of a collision. Here is a quick list of the paperwork to keep in your car:
- Up-to-date insurance records
- Your current driver’s license
- Registration information on the car
Do some homework on a good auto-related accident lawyer. These lawyers focus on personal injury law when it comes to auto-related accidents.
Commonwealth Accident Attorneys are auto accident experts. We only focus on auto-related personal injury and will ensure you are protected. Contact us and get a free consultation to see how we can serve you.