5 Things To Do After A Car Accident
1. Call the Police.
This may seem obvious, but most people do not call the police if the collision was not extremely severe. This is a huge mistake. Tell the police you are injured and demand that they come to the scene. The police will interview everyone involved, and make their police report. You’d be surprised how often the at-fault driver will change their story after they’ve had a few days to ruminate about what happened. They will change their story and put the blame back on you. However, if you have a solid police report that was taken shortly after the incident, you can use this later in your case to prove what happened.
2. Ask for an Ambulance.
Your body will go into shock after a sudden, unexpected car collision. Your adrenaline gets pumping so your injuries will not be so obvious. Although you may feel “fine,” it’s still important to get checked out. A trained EMT will help you calm down. Once you calm down, injury symptoms will likely start to show themselves. If you say you are not injured at the scene, but get medical treatment later, insurance companies may argue that the injuries were not caused by the collision.
3. Take Photographs of Everything and Get Witness Contact Info.
Take photos of all the vehicles involved. Take photos of the other driver’s car from all angles. Take photos of your vehicle from all angles. Often damage to the outside of the vehicles will not be severe, but damage underneath the vehicle is extensive. Take photos from underneath the vehicle if you can. Take photos of the roadway and the conditions as they existed at the time. Take photos of the other person's drivers license and insurance card. Finally, obtain the name, phone number, and address of everyone who witnessed the collision. Together with the police report, photographs, and eyewitness statements, you can prove what happened.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company.
Immediately after the collision, contact your own insurance company and report the collision and your injuries. You may have certain insurance benefits available to you such as Personal Injury Protection or “PIP” for short. PIP will pay for your medical treatment as you incur it. The other driver’s insurance company will not pay for your medical treatment immediately, but will only reimburse you at the time of settlement. This is a problem because your medical providers will expect to get paid right away. And if they don’t get paid, they will send your bills to collections, which will damage your credit. Don't worry about your insurance rates increasing. If the collision was not your fault, your rates will not increase. However, do not talk to the other driver's insurance company until you've completed Step 5.
5. Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney.
Without an attorney, the other driver’s insurance company will take advantage of you. Trust me, they are not a “good neighbor” and you are not in “good hands.” They will look for any way to delay and deny paying your claim. A personal injury attorney will immediately step in and take over all communications with the insurance company. Other benefits of hiring an attorney include finding you the best possible medical care, recouping your lost wages, and obtaining the best possible settlement. An experienced personal injury attorney will provide a free consultation and will work on a contingency fee, which means you don’t pay an attorney fee unless they win your case. The attorney fee is a percentage of the total recovery that the attorney obtains on your behalf.
Follow these five steps after a car accident and you will protect your legal rights and set yourself up for a successful resolution of your case.