When a car accident occurs, there is a world of emotions and worries that come with it. What needs to be done to best protect the interests of all parties, no matter who may be at fault? The things that are done after an accident can mean the difference between successfully recovering from an accident physically and financially, and being stuck paying for the accident even when you are not at fault. Here are some details to keep in mind when an accident happens.
What To Do After a Car Accident
Though it’s easy to be caught up in injuries and financial issues following an accident, there are a number of issues that need to be attended to within a fairly rigid timeline. Here’s a quick rundown of what needs to happen:
- Stay put. There are strict penalties for leaving the scene of an accident, including being charged with hit and run.
- Check other passengers and drivers. If there are injuries, get medical attention immediately. Don’t move anyone with a head, neck, or back injury.
- Call the police to file a report, especially if there are significant damages to property, potentially serious injuries, or death.
- Exchange relevant information. This includes contact information, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information. It never includes admitting fault. Something as simple as apologizing for a driving mistake can be perceived as an admission of fault.
- Gather information from witnesses. This includes what they saw, their contact information, and whether they’ve seen an accident in that location before.
- Get pictures. Be sure to take photos of the property and physical damage as well as any physical injuries as they develop. Locate pictures of the vehicle from before the accident to show the damage caused by the accident.
- Contact the insurance company. Clearly tell the insurance company the full truth about what happened. Lying or hiding the facts of the accident can have serious legal consequences.
- Track medical costs and practitioners. In addition to tracking which doctors were used, what injuries happened in the accident, and what treatments were provided, a journal of what impact the accident has had on daily life is very helpful in proving pain and suffering.
- Gather damage estimates. If the insurance company’s damage estimate seems low, get additional quotes from reputable body shops.
- Examine early settlement offers with care. They may not have the most up-to-date information or account for future issues.
- Find a good lawyer. This can ensure that all issues are sorted out and handled prior to settlement.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident and don’t know what needs to happen, please feel free to contact Ginnis Krathen Law for a consultation. Our experience and knowledge can help you recover from your accident with everything you’re due for your trouble.