6 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The moments after a car accident can be overwhelming. You may find yourself injured or in a state of panic that prevents you from thinking clearly. In those moments, we often see drivers make simple mistakes that limit or prevent their ability to receive compensation from a car accident that wasn’t their fault. Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do after a car accident.
1. Survey the Scene
Start by making sure all parties are safe. Some individuals may require medical attention, in which case you should call 911 before doing anything else. Follow these steps:
- Exit your vehicle, if you are able.
- Confirm all other drivers and passengers are safe. If not, call 911 right away.
- Assess the damage to the vehicles and any nearby property.
- Call 911 to report major accidents. Call your local non-emergency line for minor accidents.
- Remain at the scene until police arrive.
2. Exchange Information
Next, make contact with the other driver(s). Your goal here is to obtain their contact information as well as insurance details — without compromising your legal rights. Follow these steps:
- Never admit fault or apologize for the accident. Doing so may reduce your claim to any compensation.
- Ask for the driver’s name, address and phone number.
- Ask for the driver’s insurance information, including:
- Insurance company
- Policy number
- License plate number
3. Collect Evidence
After you have exchanged information, you should collect evidence of the accident. Details are critical, as vague or missing information could harm your case in the event it goes to trial. Do not leave the scene until you:
- Take photos of the scene as well as any damage to the automobiles.
- Take photos of any nearby property damage caused by the accident.
- Obtain a written copy of the accident report.
- Document the responding officer’s name and badge number.
4. Report the Accident to Insurance
Next, you should contact your insurance company to report the accident. Even if the accident is minor and injuries are non-threatening, you should make a claim. Injuries from a car accident are not always apparent and may take time to develop. For example, if you develop a spinal condition months after the accident, your medical insurance may not be willing to cover it without the right documentation.
5. Contact an Attorney
Your next call should be to an experienced personal injury attorney. Again, you may feel the accident was minor, but a lawyer offers guidance and support for all the things you may not consider. Your attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have after a car accident, such as:
- Will my case go to court or should I expect a settlement?
- Is my insurance company giving me the maximum compensation?
- How much is my case worth?
- What factors could prevent me from receiving compensation?
- Should I consider mediation?
6. Seek Medical Treatment
If you were injured in the accident, it is critical that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if your injuries do not seem significant at the time, they could develop into severe conditions later. If that is the case, you will need documentation around the injury. We recommend visiting a physician within 48 hours of a car accident. This creates a paper trail and will indicate to any future jury that you followed all the proper steps in receiving care.
We understand car accidents come with a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty. However, following these steps will ensure you receive proper medical care and a plan for any legal action that may result from it. For a more detailed look at your case, we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our St. Louis car accident attorneys.
Missouri Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been wrongfully injured as a result of personal injury, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.
Contact Zevan Davidson Roman today.
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