Car accidents happen, and they are often caused by negligent drivers. If another motorist’s negligence leaves you injured in a car accident, there are five important steps that you should take – and that apply across the board. Knowing how to proceed after a car accident can help ensure that you reach your fullest recovery and protect your personal injury claim in the process.
Number 1: Pull Over for Safety
If you have been involved in an accident, the first order of business is pulling as far out of the path of traffic as you possibly can and coming to a safe, parked position.
Number 2: Seek Medical Attention for Anyone Who Needs It
If the accident is serious, call 911 immediately. If you are not sure if anyone was injured, assess yourself and everyone else involved to determine if emergency medical care is necessary. If so, call 911 and provide what aid you can until emergency help arrives. Further, even if you do not think you were seriously injured in the accident, it is always in your best interest to seek medical attention to rule out any health concerns.
Number 3: Exchange Contact Information with the Other Driver
If you have been involved in an accident with another driver, you are required to exchange contact information that includes your insurance coverage. This, however, is all you are required to exchange. Do not discuss the accident with the other driver, and do not apologize for the accident as a nod to your good upbringing. Anything you say can come back to haunt your case later, so keep your interaction brief.
Number 4: Gather Evidence at the Scene
While at the scene of the accident, gather relevant information and evidence (if you cannot do so yourself, enlist someone to help you), including:
Photos and videos of both cars that help indicate how the accident happened and that document the damage to each vehicle
Eyewitness testimonies (do not forget to gather contact information)
Documentation of any extenuating circumstances, such as inclement weather, a poorly maintained road, signs that the other driver was speeding, or anything else that might apply
Number 5: Do Not Consent to a Recorded Interview with the Insurance Company
If you have been injured by another motorist’s negligence, you are going to be dealing with an insurance company. This does not, however, mean you need to provide the insurance representative with anything beyond your basic contact information. Insurance representatives are adept at obtaining the information they seek to help mitigate settlement offers, and there is simply no reason for you to engage in this back and forth. Your experienced personal injury attorney will skillfully negotiate with the insurance rep on your behalf and will provide him or her with all of the information it is necessary to provide.