When get you get into a car accident through no fault of your own, your next steps will be important. If you make the wrong steps, it could cost you down the road. But if you make the right steps, it will greatly improve your chances of getting full compensation for your losses.
The Mann Law Firm wants you to avoid any mistakes. That’s why we have provided the following tips on what to do after a car accident. We hope these tips help you to be prepared in the unfortunate event that you are involved in a crash or help you to get headed in the right direction if you have already been in an accident.
If you have any additional questions about what you should do after a car crash, please contact us. You can speak with a lawyer from Mann Law Firm today by calling 478-742-3381 or contact us by submitting our convenient online form. Our initial case consultations are always free and confidential.
1. Take photographs.
If you have a camera or a cell phone camera on hand, you can take photos of the accident scene. You should get pictures of the damaged vehicles and the surrounding area, including skid marks, street signs, stop signs and traffic lights. By doing this, you can preserve evidence before it is removed from the scene. Your attorney can use the photos to determine how your crash occurred and may use them in settlement negotiations or at trial.
2. Exchange information with the other driver(s).
You should always have your driver’s license, registration card and insurance card in your car. (It’s a good idea to keep the registration and insurance cards in the glove compartment of your car.) When an accident occurs, you should exchange this information with the other driver or drivers involved in your accident, or you should provide it to the police when they arrive on the scene. If you fail to get the other driver’s information, and they leave before the police arrive, it may be impossible to have your losses covered by other driver’s insurance.
3. Get witness information.
If there were witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and contact information. You may even want to jot down what they saw and heard. You can provide this information to your attorney, who will in turn contact the witnesses to provide affidavits – formal, sworn statements – or to testify as witnesses at a trial. Be sure to act quickly. Witnesses will not linger at the accident scene very long.
4. Get the police report.
In most cases, police will be called to the scene of the crash. They will get information from all of the drivers involved. They will take statements. They also will make notes of their own observations. All of this will go into their police report. This report could become the foundation for your case. Make sure to get the police officer’s name and contact information and find out how you can obtain a copy of the report. You should be able to get this copy within hours or days after the wreck.
Keep in mind: Any statements that you make to the officer could go into the report. Until you know all of the facts of your case, you should never admit fault. You don’t want to say anything inaccurate that could harm you in the future.
5. Get medical help.
Calling 911 or going to the emergency room may seem like an obvious first step. However, auto accident victims often fail to seek medical attention. This can be a mistake for two reasons.
First, you may be injured in ways that are not immediately apparent. You may be in shock and fail to realize you are hurt, or you could have soft tissue and internal organ damage that you don’t notice right away. Seeing a doctor after the crash and following up with a visit at a later date can allow those injuries to be discovered before they progress and put your health at risk.
Second, going to the doctor will allow you to document your injuries. Make sure to keep copies of all medical records and billing statements. This will make it easier to prove your injuries and the expenses you have incurred. However, if you have lost these documents, an attorney from our firm can help you to get replacement copies.
6. Contact your insurance company.
You should review your auto insurance policy and contact your insurance company as soon as possible after your accident. You may speak directly with a claims adjuster. Make sure to give the insurer the information it needs and follow its directions. However, you should not make any statements about the cause of the crash or the extent of your injuries. If you would like, your lawyer can contact the insurance company on your behalf.
7. Don’t talk to the other insurance company.
Insurance companies often contact accident victims within hours or days after a wreck. However, you are under no obligation to speak with the other driver’s insurance company. Frankly, you should not talk to the driver’s insurer until you have contacted your lawyer. Remember that insurance companies will be looking for ways to pay out nothing or as little as possible. They won’t have your best interests in mind and may try to use any statement you make against you.
8. Document your recovery.
In addition to keeping your medical records and bills, you should collect and gather any other important documents. For instance, keep receipts for vehicle repairs or car rentals, and make sure you have records of any time missed from your job. You may also wish to keep a journal that tracks your physical and emotional recovery and take photos of any injuries you have.
9. Call a lawyer.
The most important step will be to contact a lawyer without delay. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner the attorney can get to work on preserving evidence, contacting witnesses, reviewing insurance policies and seeking compensation for you.
Don’t worry about the cost. At Mann Law Firm, we make it easy for you to seek legal consultation by offering free and confidential case reviews. If we take on your case, we will charge no fees or there will be no costs unless you recover compensation in a verdict or settlement.
Learn more by calling us today at (478) 742-3381 or filling out our online contact form.