What Should I Do after a Car Accident?
According to estimates, the average driver will be involved in a car accident once approximately every 18 years. Many people, however, are unaware of what they should do in the event of a collision. Once the initial shock of being involved in a crash wears off, there are several things you should do in order to protect yourself from liability and improve your chances of filing a successful claim.
1. Get Medical Help
First and foremost, the most important thing to do immediately following an accident is to get medical treatment for all who have been injured in the crash. Check yourself, your passengers, and the occupants of the other vehicle. If someone in the other car is hurt, dial 911 immediately to make sure that they are tended to.
Even if you are not sure, it is always best to err on the side of caution and let medical professionals evaluate injuries. If someone seems to be seriously hurt, try to keep them still until paramedics arrive. Attempting to move an injured person can possibly make their injuries worse, as is the case with spinal cord damage.
2. Do Not Leave the Scene
Do not under any circumstances leave the scene of an accident until it is appropriate to do so. Fleeing before insurance information has been exchanged and injured parties have been helped can be considered to be a “hit and run” accident, which can carry serious legal penalties.
3. Call the Police
Once you have checked to make sure that everyone is ok or if medical help has been summoned, calling the police is your next priority. A police officer can help you assess the damage and file a police report for the incident. In addition, they can help you protect the scene of the accident and move your vehicles to a safe location if possible. Record the names and badge numbers of all officers that aid you, as they can come in handy later on.
4. Exchange Information With All Involved Parties
After police have arrived and assessed the situation, it is necessary that you exchange information with the other driver and all who are involved in the accident.
This includes the following:
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plates
- Insurance information
During this time, it is important that you remain polite and calm. Most people are likely to be in an emotional or angry state following a collision, and it is important that you keep the situation in control. Do not, however, apologize for anything! This can be seen as an admission of guilt, placing liability on you before it can even be determined. Keep your conversation only about the facts, and only speak to the police, your insurance agent, or an attorney regarding the accident.
5. Talk to Witnesses & Take Photographs of the Damage
If there are any witnesses, take down their information. If they are locals to the area, ask if they have ever seen similar crashes in the same spot. This can help you tremendously later on when determining fault for the accident. In addition, take photos of any and all damage caused by the accident for later reference.
Get pictures of the following:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to other vehicles
- Property damage
- Skid marks
6. Contact the Strong Law Firm
Dealing with insurance companies can be difficult, as both your insurance provider and the other drivers’ insurance will likely be trying to pay you as little as possible. Don’t lose hope, however, as a Falls Church car accident attorney from the Strong Law Firm can provide you with excellent legal representation to help you pursue a fair settlement for your injuries and sustained damages. We are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and can handle its various complexities.
Our firm can help you pursue compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering