First Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
Unfortunately there is no assured way of knowing when car accidents happen. This is out of your control. But what’s within your realm is what to do following a crash, should it happen. Which begs the question, do you know what to do if you’re caught in a car accident?
When car accidents happen, emotions tend to run high. The situation can be stressful and overwhelming. Tensions may rise especially where the physical injuries and damage to property are severe.
As difficult it may be to stay calm following a car crash, it is critical to relax and not panic. This should be the first agenda. With a calm mind, you can think clearly and assess the situation.
Here are important steps to follow when you’re at the scene of the car accident.
Remain at the scene of the car accident.
The only exception to this rule would be any emergency situation, which warrants or justifies leaving the scene. If you move away from the site where someone was severely injured or has died, this could be a case of a hit-and-run. You could face serious criminal charges when you do that.
2. Check on the health, well-being, and safety on all persons in the car.
For this step, you need to do a self-check first. Ensure that you are well or at least able-bodied you can provide assistance to other people in the car., if any. Make sure everyone is OK and see if there is someone who needs immediate medical attention. Call 911 when possible.
It is important to note that you should never move any person who is unconscious and you suspect he or she has a severe neck or spinal injury. Wait until a qualified medical personnel arrives. The only exception to this step is when moving the victim to a safer spot when the exigencies require you to do so.
3. Call the police.
In any car crash, you should notify the police ASAP for the basic reason that they can provide the emergency assistance you need. The police will also prepare a report of the incident, which you’ll need when filing a claim for damages.
4. Exchange contact and insurance information.
Get the names and contact information from the drivers involved. Secure their phone number, email as well as the license plate and driver’s license information. Try to obtain the crucial information from passengers as well.
When doing this, try to be courteous and cooperative. However, restrain yourself from expressing any form of apology. Avoid saying sorry about the accident as this may be construed as an admission of fault, which can lead to your legal liability.
If you can, get the other drivers’ insurance information as well.
5. Speak with the witnesses.
If there are people who saw the accident, reach out to them and request that they speak about the event with you and the responding police officers. Whenever possible, get their names and contact information.
6. Inform your insurance provider.
Tell your insurance provider about the accident you’re in promptly. Inform them of the bodily injuries you sustained as well as the car damage incurred. Apprise the company with the truth as you perceived them. Lying about these things can get you into serious trouble, which may even result in the denial of insurance coverage.
7. Take note of your medical treatment.
Supposing you sustained injuries on account of the car accident. It is important to keep track of your treatment as well as the medications you receive. Don’t forget to include the missed workdays.
8. Take photos.
You’ll need these pictures later on should you decide to file a claim for damages with your insurance provider or before the courts. So it’s best to take photos from all angles.
9. Obtain an independent damage valuation of your car.
Sometimes car insurance companies may want to downplay the damage so they won’t have to pay much. If you’re not satisfied with the damage valuation by your insurance provider, seek an independent valuation.
10. Don’t discuss the incident with anyone.
Stay mum about the details of the accidents. Confer only with your attorney, the authorized representative of your insurance provider, and the police.
11. Be cautious of early settlement offers.
Don’t settle for a claim before you’ve figured out the pecuniary damages you’ve incurred as a result of the car accident. Take into account your medical treatments, missed workdays, property damage, and similar factors when coming up with the figure.
12. Get legal representation.
In all these matters, it is best to seek the guidance and representation from a highly experienced lawyer. Maximize your chances of seeking compensation for damages or, if you’re at fault, get better legal defense.
Want to have your case reviewed by a seasoned Las Vegas car accident attorney? Look to Dan Lovell of Empire Law Group.