A car collision can be as minor as causing a schedule delay or ruining an afternoon, or as serious as experiencing permanent injury and death. Around six million accidents happen in the US annually, with half of them resulting in injuries.
Because of the sensitive nature of a car accident, it’s important to heed advice about how to proceed right afterward, since anything you do or say could impact your ability to receive a full settlement or take the case to court.
The following list details what you should do directly after you’ve been in an accident:
- Make sure everyone is ok. Call an ambulance if there are any injuries requiring immediate attention.
- Call the police to file a report about the incident. They can also assist in getting any medical care needed for possible injuries.
- Collect insurance and licensing information from everyone involved, and get your own information ready. You’ll also need it for the police report that the responding officer files.
- Take photos of the scene and of the damage. Document the points of impact on any vehicles involved.
- Do not admit fault or provide commentary to others involved in the collision. Do not discuss how or why the collision occurred.
- When police show up to file a report, it’s ok to say you don’t know the answer to a question. Don’t guess or provide inaccurate details, especially about the cause or about injuries. If you’re injured, it can take days for any pain to show up, so tell the officer that you are unsure when they ask.
- File a report with your insurance company. When you do, ask about any medical coverage your policy provides.
- Get yourself checked out with a doctor. Car accident injuries are unique in that your body’s adrenaline surge following the initial accident has the capability of masking them until hours or days later. Apart from making sure you’re healthy, you’ll need to know whether you’ll have additional expenses for treatments that you’ll need covered.
Auto insurance providers often try to find ways to minimize your settlement. Always speak with an attorney after an accident. If you have severe or debilitating injuries, your attorney may need to help you obtain medical leave from work and determine the responsible party.