A car accident is a terrifying experience. If you’ve been in a car accident for the first time, then chances are that it’s also going to be a very confusing experience. Millions of car accidents happen every year, and staying updated on what to do after one can only help you.
In this tutorial, we’re going to tell you about the 10 steps you should take after a car accident to make your life easier and have a better time in court if it comes to that.
1. Ensure safety
Call for medical assistance and move out of the way of traffic. Your priority is to ensure the safety of yourself and others in the situation. Dial 911 as soon as possible and explain everything.
If you’re in a busy area then you and the person in need are moved out of the way of traffic by officers of the law. It’s okay to be scared in that situation but try to calm down and take charge of the situation.
2. Call the police
The cops will take statements, file a report, and create a record of the incident. This is critical for any lawsuit or negotiations to happen.
Officers sent down to the scene will assist you as needed. They will also take your statement to create the report. Be accurate and detailed about the incident. Don’t hold back information or mix words.
3. Exchange information
Get the driver’s name, license plate number, insurance company information, and any contact information you can gather. Record testimonies of others present on the scene at the time of the accident.
Any Seattle car accident lawyer worth their salt will tell you that information from the crime scene is the #1 determining factor of what compensation you can get, the extent of justice, and even who wins or loses in court or during negotiations.
4. Document the accident
Properly document the whole accident and show the extent of the damage. Record videos, take photos, and make sure the whole scene is covered.
Anything that was damaged due to the accident should also be covered. This includes close-up photos of dents in your car or property damage.
5. Report to your insurance company
There are many people to call after you’ve been in an accident after 911. This includes loved ones and attorneys. But never forget to give a call to your insurance company as soon as possible.
Notify them of the accident and provide all the details. Tell them you have recorded and documented the accident.
Be honest and ready for any questions. Quickly contacting them will ensure that they can process your claim in time.
6. Seek medical attention
Is anyone injured? Visit a doctor to check for any injuries even if you feel fine. More often than not, a call to 911 will take care of medical response and first aid. First aid cannot take care of more serious, unidentifiable, or internal injuries.
For that, a thorough check-up with your doctor is very important.
Get a Seattle personal injury attorney to ensure you’re not discriminated against in case you have suffered injuries. Proving injuries and maximizing compensation for them is a complex procedure.
For example, only a professional lawyer can help pin down the exact compensation you deserve for the injuries and related damages, such as loss of income, emotional damage, and pain and suffering.
7. Keep records
All accident-related costs should be kept organized. This includes medical bills and receipts. This money will likely be compensated if you were not at fault.
Even if you have no intention to sue anyone, having these records can also help in insurance claims or during mediated negotiations.
8. Contact an attorney
Consider consulting with an attorney if you’ve been injured or if there’s a dispute. A swift call to an attorney can quickly warn about the do’s and don’ts. It can further help you protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf.
Be detailed and 100% honest with your attorney.
Any pedestrian hit by a car can easily hire a Seattle pedestrian accident attorney. It can complicate things if you were the driver. As such, you’re highly recommended to build a strong defense with the help of a car accident attorney yourself.
This will ensure you’re not unfairly punished, as an attorney can argue professionally based on facts and also collect all relevant details of the case.
9. Don’t admit fault
Don’t say or sign anything that might indicate your fault. Even if you’re partially at fault, don’t admit it without the presence of your attorney. This can be used against you and the case can be dismissed or you could lose the upper hand during negotiations.
Don’t put yourself at risk. Get in touch with an attorney ASAP to understand the next course of action.
Even if you think the fault is yours, avoid admitting it in front of other drivers, insurance companies, or police officers on the scene.
10. Keep calm
Most importantly, stay calm. Be patient and polite throughout the process. Rash decisions will not help you then or in the future as the case unfolds.
Take a deep breath and try to keep cool in the accident zone; you must be patient throughout the process, and if the other driver is angry, you must be polite.
What to do if you’ve been in a car accident? The whole affair can be quite jarring, disconcerting, and even dangerous. You need to fully analyze the situation and assess the damages before moving forward. Don’t lunge into a lawsuit without proper planning. Planning also includes research into state-specific rules and regulations regarding car accidents and how they pan out.
Wondering how to negotiate a car accident settlement? Well, the first step is often getting in touch with a competent car accident attorney from your state. He or she will help you figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your case and give you further directions on how to proceed with the lawsuit or negotiations.
The 10 steps mentioned here are the common steps. The list is non-exhaustive and you might need additional steps to ensure justice and success in court. That can only be done by one-on-one consultation with an experienced attorney from a reputable law firm.