You’re driving along when suddenly another vehicle swerves into your lane and hits you. The impact jolts you, and for a moment, you’re in shock. Are you hurt? Is the other driver okay? What are you supposed to do next?
It’s hard to think straight after an accident. However, you must take specific steps right away to ensure everyone involved is safe. Not to mention, it will go a long way in helping you protect your legal rights. This blog post will outline six critical things to do immediately after an accident. Don’t be caught off guard. Follow these steps.
Stop Immediately and Assess the Situation
The first thing you should do after an accident is to stop your vehicle. If you can drive to the side of the road or onto a shoulder. Turn on your hazard lights so that other drivers will know to slow down or move around you.
If you can’t move your car, don’t try. It’s better to wait for help than risk making the situation worse. Once you’ve stopped, take a moment to assess the situation. Check to see if anyone has been injured and, if so, how seriously. If possible, render first aid or call for medical assistance right away.
You should also check for damage to your vehicle and any other property. If there’s a lot of damage or anyone appears seriously injured, it’s best to wait for the police to arrive before trying to move anything.
If it seems like the accident is minor and everyone involved is okay, your next step is to call the police.
Call the Police
It’s always best to err with caution and have the police come to the scene to file an official report.
While waiting for the police, exchange information with the other driver. You’ll need their name, contact information, insurance company, and policy number. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the damage to both vehicles and any other property damaged in the accident.
Once the police arrive, they will likely talk to you and the other driver to get your versions of what happened. They may also ask to see your license and registration.
The police will then file a report, which can be helpful if you need to make an insurance claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. After the police leave, you should contact your insurance company to report the accident and start the claims process. You may also want to consider hiring a lawyer. After an accident, you might face many problems, and to handle law-related issues, you should have a lawyer. Click here to check Virginia auto accident lawyer.
Give an Accurate Record
When you talk to the police, give them a clear and concise account of what happened. However, avoid admitting fault to the police or the other driver. The insurance companies will use anything you say against you. Instead, let the police know what happened without placing blame. This way, they can do their investigation and come to their conclusions.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine, seeing a doctor or going to the emergency room as soon as possible is essential.
You might have injuries that don’t appear until days or weeks after the accident. And if you wait too long to seek medical attention, the insurance company may claim that your injuries are unrelated to the accident.
Gather and Store All Your accident-related Documents Safely
Some crucial documents you should have in hand include the police report, insurance information, medical records, and receipts. When filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you will need these documents. If you have photos of the accident scene or your injuries, those can also be helpful.
Ensure you have a copy of everything before you submit it to the insurance company.
File an Insurance Claim As Soon As Possible
The sooner you file your insurance claim, the better.
Your memory of the accident will be fresh, and it will be easier to give an accurate account of what happened. You should also have all the necessary documentation when you file your claim. However, remember that the insurance company may try to lowball you on your initial settlement offer. Therefore, prepare to negotiate with the insurance company to get a fair settlement.
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can give you the best chance of getting a fair settlement from the insurance company.
If you’ve been in an accident, don’t panic. Relaxing and following the necessary steps to ensure you’re compensated relatively is crucial. By following the tips above, you can give yourself the best chance at a positive outcome. However, don’t try to handle everything on your own. Hiring an experienced personal injury or accident lawyer can help you get the best possible outcome for your case.
And remember, don’t overshare or take the blame for the accident when giving your statement. Doing so can jeopardize your case and result in a lower settlement.