In the moments after a car crash, it’s hard to focus and even if the incident is minor, we often find our hearts and minds racing. It’s challenging to slow down and take a breath; and it’s also difficult to remember what we’re supposed to do - and what we should make sure not to do.
Unfortunately, this confusing period of time is also a crucial period in determining what happens next. It’s when authorities are notified, witnesses are identified and information is exchanged. Taking the right steps sets you up to be properly compensated for any damages you sustained, while doing or saying the wrong thing can all but blow your case.
Because car crashes are, statistically, bound to happen to everyone, keep a printout with the following tips in your vehicle to protect yourself and make the best of your situation.
1. Ensure safety
If possible, move yourself and others involved to a safe place. Seek medical attention for those seriously injured.
2. Call the police
Ask that a police report is filed and request a copy of the report. Obtain name and badge numbers of responding officers.
3. Gather details
Note the name, contact and insurance information of all parties involved in the accident. Take a moment to jot down the details of the scene while still fresh in your mind.
4. Talk to witnesses
Ask everyone what they saw and if they have ever witnessed a similar accident in the same place. Ask for their contact information so that they can contacted by your attorney later on.
5. Take photos
Document the entire crash scene, your and the other driver’s vehicle, injuries, plate and insurance card. Take pictures of street signs, skid marks and anything else that may affect your claim.
6. Contact an attorney
An experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful in negotiating the often chaotic and confusing world of personal injury claims and settlements.
7. Contact your insurance company
Whether or not you’re at fault, you should report the incident to your insurance company.
1. DON’T admit fault.
Be courteous, but avoid apologizing to the other driver, no matter who is at fault. Stick to the facts when speaking to others. Do not post about the crash on social media.
2. DON’T accept a check.
Don't accept a check from your insurance company without fully understanding the extent of your losses, injuries and damages. This may not fully or fairly compensate you for your damages.
3. DON’T sign any waivers.
Don't sign waivers provided to you by your insurance company without seeking the advice of a personal injury attorney first.
While it’s nice to think of your insurance company as your ally after a car accident, that can be a dangerous perspective to adopt. Yes, your insurance company is legally required to provide the coverage you’ve been paying for, but insurance companies, like other companies, exist first and foremost to make money.
Some will ask you lots of personal questions to try to find unexpected loopholes, quibble over documentation and try other ways to avoid fulfilling their obligations to you. Luckily, your lawyer will always be on your side and looking out for your best interests.
If you’ve been in a car accident or suffered another kind of personal injury, you don’t have to fight for fair compensation alone. Reach out to the experts at The Carlson Law Firm at 866-817-3187 for a free consultation, or visit carlsonattorneys.com for more inform