4 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO AFTER A CAR CRASH
When you're in a car accident, it's important to know what to do after you've safely gotten out of your car. Car accidents can be costly -- it's been found that the total economic toll they take on the U.S. economy is around $250 billion. Doing the right things after a car crash can be helpful for getting compensation from your insurance company. Here's what you need to do after a car accident.
1. REMAIN AT THE SCENE
The first thing that most law enforcement officials or accident attorneys will tell you is to never leave the scene of an accident. You can potentially be charged with severe criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver. In particular, these charges can happen when someone in the accident has suffered an injury or been killed. Stay at the scene and check if everyone is okay.
Once everyone in the accident is okay or being taken care of by a medical professional, you can assess the damage to your vehicle. Be sure to take photos of the damage as soon as possible. The pictures will help your insurance adjuster decide the amount you should be compensated.
They can also be helpful in case you have to go to court. Police need to be called in any case of physical injury, significant property damage, or death. When they arrive at the scene, ask for a police report to be filed, and gather the name and badge numbers of all responding officers.
2. EXCHANGE INFORMATION
When communicating with the driver or drivers involved in the accident, be sure to get their name, phone number, address, license plate number, drivers’ license number, and basic insurance information. You should also get the name, address, and phone number of passengers as well. It’s not always clear who’s at fault immediately after an accident.
Since it’s not always clear, it’s best to wait until you have professional legal advice. In addition to exchanging information with those involved in the accident, get information from those who were witnesses to it. Ask each person what they saw, and if possible, get their name, address, and phone number.
3. CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
You need to let your insurance company know about the accident as soon as possible. Be clear in explaining all the facts of the accident and your injuries. If you give any false information about the accident and the insurance company finds out, you’ll potentially be denied coverage for the accident, and possibly face legal consequences. Use the police report filed to inform your insurance company who was at fault.
4. LOOK INTO AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
It can be a helpful precaution to contact an accident attorney after a car accident. They have the necessary experience to inform you of any way you can potentially maximize your recovery if you were injured, or present a better defense if you were at fault. Many accident lawyers will usually only take a fee from you if you receive a settlement or are awarded damages after going to trial. Make sure that you consult an attorney before you sign any settlement documents.
Car accidents can be a life-changing event for many people. Knowing what to do after an accident can make a difficult situation a little bit easier. Keep these four important things in mind the next time you’re in a car accident.