Most of the time, troubles do not warn you of their arrival. Motor vehicle accidents occur in a sudden, transient, bewildering moment that can leave you injured and/or in a state of panic.
Many a time, victims of car accidents get so flabbergasted by the situation that they’re unable to figure out what to do next. Knowing the first steps to take after an accident, however, can be crucial to availing the necessary medical and legal assistance, and safeguarding your right to compensation and justice.
It is all the more important to seek legal counsel if another driver was responsible for you becoming a victim of an accident.
A few simple steps immediately after the accident can not only protect your rights as the victim, it can also ensure that you have a strong basis for filing a lawsuit. These steps can help you and/or injured passengers claim and recover compensation for the damages suffered due to another person’s negligence.
Mentioned ahead are the few speedy steps that you should take to protect your right to compensation in the aftermath of an auto accident.
1. Check for Injuries
You’re bound to be in pain after a car accident. Figure out if you’re injured too. If you had passengers with you in the car, ask them if they are hurt. If you feel fine, approach the other vehicle and inquire if its occupants are okay. If you or the people involved in the accident have been injured, call 911 and seek urgent medical help.
Irrespective of how you feel, you should make it a point to visit your doctor. At times, the injuries aren’t immediately apparent, especially internal ones, and the symptoms appear only after a few days. Do watch out for those.
It is also important to maintain records of all the medical treatments received as that will be helpful in making a legal claim later.
2. Capture the Accident Scene
Take ample pictures of the accident site with the help of your cell phone or a camera. Click pictures of the vehicles involved and their impact points (the point where they hit each other), the damage to the exterior and the interior parts, broken glass, skid marks, scratches, and so on.
Also try and get several pictures of any damage caused to other objects on the site such as lamp posts, signal poles, signage, lane dividers, and so on.
Capture all the visible injuries that you and/or your passengers have sustained on camera. Get names and contact details of other people involved in the accident, as well as of those who witnessed it. If the circumstances surrounding your accident were unique or complicated in nature, write or record notes about it while the incident is still fresh and clear in your memory.
The pictures can work as evidence and go a long way in strengthening your case. They can prove your claim about where the fault lies, and determine the extent of damage and injuries incurred from the accident.
As your case progresses, continue retaining all the documents pertaining to your accident, particularly your medical records, bills for prescription drugs and treatment procedures, and receipts of other expenses incurred due to the accident.
3. Call the Police
Call the police immediately after the collision, report the accident and wait for them to arrive at the accident site. This is an important step as the police need to carry out their own investigations and collect evidence which will ultimately lead to the issuance of an official report of the accident.
These reports contain crucial information about the possible witnesses to the accident. Further, they may also help in determining which motorist was responsible for the accident.
4. Get the Other Driver’s Information
In the case of other driver(s) being involved in the car accident, you will be required to make a note of their names and contact information as well. Moreover, be sure to jot down their driver’s license number, vehicle details (model, make, license plate number), name of their insurance carrier and their insurance policy number.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
Make sure you call your insurance company as soon as you can to report the car accident. The insurers will want to know every detail of the accident, including the exact place and time the accident occurred. They will also want to know if anyone else was involved in the accident.
When speaking to your insurance company, ensure that you do not accept any blame for the accident. Only report the facts of the episode. Admitting even partial blame for causing the accident could work against you in acquiring your claim.
6. Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer
Being in a car accident can be extremely hard on you both, physically and mentally. Your first priority after that should be to recuperate and get back to your former fit self. The last thing you need is the stress of having to fight an accident lawsuit and running from pillar to post gathering evidence in your sensitive health condition.
You will do well to engage the services of a car accident lawyer from same area where the accident occurred as such a lawyer will not only have specialized in auto accident laws, but will also be well-versed with the complex laws and the latest amendments in this field. For instance, if the accident took place in Joliet, you will have to look for a car accident lawyer in Joliet.
An experienced attorney will be able to help you receive the rightful settlement from your insurance provider, and assist you in seeking compensation from the other driver’s insurance carrier. Do consult one to find out how he can protect your rights.
The first few immediate steps you take after being hit by a moving vehicle can go a long way in supporting your auto accident lawsuit. Contacting an experienced attorney is also crucial as he can guide you and take your case in the right direction, and get you the compensation you deserve. The above points should help you understand what you need to do right after being in an auto accident to help strengthen your case.