Six million car accidents occur in the United States every year. As a result, three million people are injured, with two million sustaining permanent injuries.
If you were in an accident recently, you might miss out on work or develop a disability. Compensation from a car accident claim could help you cover those costs. However, there are a few essential steps you need to take to maximize how much you receive.
Need some car accident legal advice? We’re here to help! Keep reading to discover the 10 steps you need to take after an accident. With these tips, you can react quickly and calmly.
Prepare for your first car crash before it ever happens with these 10 tips.
- Move Out of Traffic
Immediately following the crash, take a breath. It’s normal to feel a little disoriented. While that’s okay, it’s also essential that you move out of the way of traffic as soon as possible.
Before you move your car, make sure it’s safe to drive. Turn your hazard lights on and move to the nearest safe area. If your car isn’t safe to move, leave it where it is.
If you’re not sure whether or not it’s safe to move, wait for the police to arrive on the scene. They’ll provide you with instructions.
Otherwise, do not leave the scene of the crash. Leaving could put you in more legal trouble. In fact, traffic accident law could put you in danger if someone was killed or injured in the crash.
In a hit-and-run situation, you could even face criminal penalties. Stay put.
- Assess Your Injuries
Make sure to prioritize your safety as you follow this car accident legal advice. Once you’ve moved out of traffic, assess your injuries.
Were you hurt? If you were, call for medical attention before calling anyone else.
You might not realize you’ve sustained injuries until weeks, or even months, after the crash. Take note of any neck or back pain you experience. In most cases, adrenaline will mask your injuries immediately following the crash.
After the crash, document any pain you experience if you’re injured in a car accident.
Check on the other driver to make sure they’re okay and able to move. If anyone was injured don’t move them right away. Instead, call a qualified medical professional.
They’ll assess the situation and make sure it’s okay for the injured individual to move.
In some instances, you might have to move someone out of the way of traffic. If this occurs, make sure to stabilize their back and neck beforehand. Otherwise, you could cause more damage by moving them.
- Call the Police
After you’re in an accident, make sure to call the police right away. Their official police report of your accident can work as evidence for your claim.
In some states, it’s traffic accident law to call the police. If you’re unsure whether this law applies in your state, call the police anyway. Once they arrive, make sure they file an official police report.
The officers will make a note of any property damages, injuries, or deaths that occurred. Once they complete their report, make sure to write down the officer’s name and their badge number. You’ll want these details in your own records.
Ask them for a copy of the police report. If they can’t provide one by email, you might need to visit the police station later for a copy.
- Minimize Conversation
It’s important you know your car accident rights following a crash. For example, you’re not obligated to speak to the other party. Instead, it’s sometimes best to avoid small talk until the police arrive.
Try to limit conversation with any other drivers involved in the crash. Otherwise, don’t admit responsibility. That includes apologizing.
Don’t offer your opinion about what happened, either. You’re also not obligated to speak about any injuries you sustained, even in very bad car accidents.
Instead, consider responding by saying only a licensed doctor can fully assess your health.
- Take Notes
You don’t have to depend solely on the official police report. Instead, take the time to collect your own evidence as you wait for the police to arrive.
First, make sure to get the other driver’s information, including their:
- Phone number
- License number
- License plate number
- Insurance number
Write down a description of the vehicle, including the make, model, and year.
Then, write down what happened. Make note of the date, time, and address.
What direction were you and the other driver traveling? Was it raining?
These details can slip through your mind after the accident. Take notes for your personal record to ensure you don’t forget anything.
- Snap Photos
For the most accurate record, take as many photos as you can. Your insurance company will likely need these photos for your claim. Take photos of:
- How the cars are positioned
- Where the accident happened
- Signs of any crossroads
- Damages and injuries
The other party might want to take a photo of your driver’s license. This isn’t necessary. Instead, have them take down your basic contact information to protect yourself from identity theft.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Don’t forget to call your insurance company and let them know you were in an accident. You might want to make this call while you’re still on the scene. The officer who arrives can give your insurance company more information, too.
- File a Claim
During the call, your insurance agent will walk you through the process for filing a claim. Some insurance companies now have smartphone apps to make this process easier.
Try to complete as much as possible while you’re on the scene to avoid missing information.
- Keep Track of Treatments
20 to 50 million people are injured or disabled after an accident. Make sure to keep track of your injuries, appointments, and treatments. That includes:
- Emergency room visits
- Physical therapists
You’ll need to provide this information to your car accident lawyer.
- Call a Lawyer
Make sure to hire a lawyer who specializes in car accident cases. Their experience can help maximize your claim.
Look for a car accident lawyer who has a strong track record. You can also research their reputation and the work they’ve done with previous clients. They can provide you with additional car accident legal advice to help you through the process.
Car Accident Legal Advice: 10 Steps to Follow After a Crash
This car accident legal advice is essential. Without these steps, you might miss out on the compensation you deserve.
After your crash, make sure to take a breath. Remember these steps and follow through. How you react after the crash can make all the difference.
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