It is understandable for one to be in shock and to a certain extent confused in the aftermath of an accident. Car accidents are frightening, to say the least, due to the high speeds and types of vehicles involved. It is therefore good for one to be familiar with the do’s and don’ts after an accident to prepare themselves and their loved ones. Proper preparation will also play a large part in allowing the personal injury claim to carry on smoothly and to prevent legal loopholes.
What To Do After an Accident
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Although you might feel perfectly fine after the accident, the possibility of internal injuries cannot be ruled out. A medical check is, therefore, necessary to ascertain the extent of the injuries. If you wait for a long duration of time to seek treatment it might prove difficult to show that the injuries were sustained during the accident.
2. Remain At The Scene
Unless your current position might lead to further injuries, you should remain at the scene of the accident and immediately contact the police. The police should find you at the scene. Remaining at the scene of the accident prevents any tampering of the evidence and solidifies your injury claims.
If you leave the scene, it will be considered a case of hit and run. Leave the scene when the police say you are okay to leave.
3. Cooperate with Law Enforcement And Medical Personnel
Police officers help document the accident and may make their reports detailing the accident and make their observations about the accident scene. Try to be as honest as possible to prevent inconsistencies between your report and that of the police.
4. Talk To The Other Driver
Check to see if you can talk to the other driver. Be extra cautious if he/she exhibits any sign of road rage. If you had any valuables in the car, you may want to conceal them. Some people take advantage of the chaos in an accident to steal from the occupants. Engage in small talk with the driver as you wait for the police to arrive.
If you were in the wrong, do not admit it. If it was the other driver, do not ask them about it. At the same time, if any witness points out who was at fault, do not acknowledge it. That is the work of insurance companies.
Discussions about the damages to the cars should also be avoided. If anyone asks if you are okay, tell them a doctor is the only one who can determine that.
5. Make Calls
The police will arrive and then the medics, or vice versa. After you are done speaking to them, make a few calls. Call your insurance company. Many insurance policies state that you have to call them immediately. After that make sure you contact a car accident lawyer before any paperwork is done. The lawyer should be present before you say or sign anything.
6. Exchange Information
If possible, try to get all the necessary information from the other party involved in the accident: the driver’s name, telephone number, address, phone number, and any relevant insurance information. The information of witnesses at the scene should also be recorded so that your lawyer can get in touch with them if there is need.
7. Take Photos And Videos
As evidence may be lost, it might prove crucial to capture the scene and surrounding area. The damage to the vehicle and injuries inflicted should also be noted.
What Not To Do After An Accident
1. Do Not Move The Vehicle
Only if the law requires it should you move the vehicle from the original state. Moving the vehicle could interfere with the work of the police documenting the accident and could tamper with valuable evidence. The aim is to leave the accident scene untouched.
2. Do Not Accept Blame
Do not apologize for the accident or admit fault. This could be seen as an admission of guilt and could be used against you legally. Try to keep conversation to a bare minimum and avoid engaging in discussions about who was to blame for the accident. Avoid accusations.
3. Do Not Record A Statement Without The Presence of A Lawyer
Before making any recorded statement especially to the insurance company, get in touch with your lawyer. This is because once you record the statement it’s often difficult to change it. You have the right to refuse to record a statement. A revision of the statement by a lawyer might go a long way to protect your injury claim and legal rights. This also prevents the other party from getting anything that could be used against you.
4. Do Not Sign Paperwork Without A Lawyer Present
Apart from the official police report, try to avoid signing any unfamiliar paperwork that may be presented to you. Anything you sign should be done in the presence of a lawyer.
5. Do Not Move Injured People
Wait for the qualified emergency personnel to arrive. Attempting to move anyone from the accident scene could lead to more injuries and even death.
6. Do Not Make Deals
Do not agree to any deal that the other driver may offer. No matter how sweet it is. Refuse any cash that you may be offered so that you do not file a claim from insurance. Sometimes the driver may claim to not have insurance, do not fall for this.
7. Do Not Settle Without The Presence of A Lawyer
Any settlement deals with the insurance company should be done in the presence of a lawyer. The lawyer reviews the settlement offer and represents your best interests. It’s, therefore, crucial to always consult a lawyer. They will help you through the process and explain any terms that you may not understand. This will go a long way in helping you get your settlement.
No one wants to be involved in an accident, but they happen. Most of the time, it is not something you can control or something you should have done differently. It is better to be prepared just in case. Be aware of the things you should do and those that you should not do.