Car accidents are never pleasant and happen even to the most careful drivers. Being involved in one can leave you and your passengers in pain, shock, and confusion. You’ll most likely damage your vehicle.
Getting and documenting important information from the scene of the accident is vital to your compensation through an insurance claim or a lawsuit. If you’re based in Atlanta, an Atlanta car accident lawyer can guide you on what to do and help you pursue compensation. You can also reach out to a legal professional in your local area after a vehicular accident.
Below are seven important steps you should take following a car accident to ensure your safety and your loved ones and protect your legal rights as the accident victim:
However minor a car accident may seem, don’t leave the scene until the police arrive. Failure to stop after a car accident is a criminal offense that may attract significant hit-and-run penalties. The authorities can revoke your driving license, and you can also receive fines or serve jail time.
Staying at the scene will also enable you to secure the scene. You’ll prevent onlookers or the other party from tampering with, moving, or removing the evidence. Securing the scene will help investigators get accurate details of the accident. It’ll also help the personal injury law firm that will represent you to build a credible case.
- Assess The Situation
Being involved in a car accident can be disorienting. However, assessing the situation quickly is critical so you know your next move. Taking care of your well-being and that of your passengers should take priority. Make sure everyone’s okay and get medical assistance for whoever is hurt. Determine if it’s possible if you can move your vehicle somewhere safer.
If you can, drive your car to the side of the road to avoid obstructing traffic. Put on your hazard lights and set up reflective emergency triangles or activate road flares to alert other drivers. If the accident is severe, leave the vehicle where it is and call emergency services as soon as it’s safe.
- Notify The Police
If there’s an emergency after the accident, call 911. Otherwise, contact the local police department. The police will fill out an accident report after conducting preliminary investigations, interviewing parties, inspecting the cars involved, and examining the accident scene.
Be sure to get a copy of the report when it’s ready because you’ll need it to file an insurance claim. Your lawyers may also need it if you file a suit to pursue compensation.
- Gather Information
While you wait for the police to arrive or as they assess the situation, collect information at the scene of the accident. Since you’ll have the burden of proving your case, the information will help you build your case and strengthen your claim when you file for compensation.
If it’s safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene from every angle. Take pictures of your car and all vehicles involved, concentrating on damaged areas. Capture debris at the scene, such as metal or glass on the road, and skid or paint marks. Take photos of the surroundings, like nearby buildings, road signs, and any other feature that identifies the particular area.
Obtain the other drivers’ details, such as their:
- contact numbers,
- drivers’ license numbers,
- license plate numbers, and
- insurance information.
Ask to see their driver’s licenses to verify the information. Don’t forget to take the contacts of any witnesses at the scene of the accident. Their testimony is crucial because some courts may consider these unbiased accounts of the accident.
Also document the:
- date and time of the accident,
- location of the accident,
- weather condition,
- your driving speed,
- road visibility,
- traffic flow,
- direction each vehicle was heading, and
- everything else you recollect.
If possible, make a sketch of how the accident happened. While gathering information, you mustn’t offer your opinion about the accident. Don’t admit liability or get into an argument about who was at fault. Avoid small talk, as the other party can use anything you say against you.
- Seek Medical Attention
It’s normal to feel perfectly fine after an accident. This is due to the release of adrenaline in response to a stressful situation. You can feel the effects of the accident a day or two after that. Even if the accident appears insignificant, it’s important to seek medical attention. Tell your doctor what you feel in detail during the examination, even the slightest pain. Insist on having diagnostic tests like MRI scans and X-rays to reveal hidden injuries.
Ensure you obtain copies of all treatment documents and reports. Apart from being examined and treated for injuries you sustained, the report after your medical examination will also be relied upon when your injuries are evaluated for compensation.
- Notify Your Insurance
While making a roadside deal after an accident might be tempting, it’s wise to notify your insurance company. This is to protect yourself from the unexpected if the other drivers don’t have insurance. Your contractual obligation to your insurer also demands that you report any accident promptly. Notifying your insurance about the accident will enable them to step in and take care of your treatment expenses or have your car repaired as you wait for compensation.
- Talk To A Lawyer
Having a lawyer will be indispensable after a car accident, whether you sustain injuries or suffer car damage. They’ll negotiate your payout with the insurance company or represent you in a lawsuit. People who are represented by lawyers tend to be compensated better than those who represent themselves.
How you handle a vehicular accident’s aftermath will influence the outcome of the events that follow. Therefore, keeping calm and following the steps in this blog post is crucial to have a water-tight case. That way, you get the compensation you deserve.