A car accident can be a very disconcerting experience. In the six million car accidents that occur every year in the United States, it truly is fortunate that most of them only involve property damage. Even in such instances, it is important that you realize you’ve been part of something serious which can have legal implications.
As such, it is important that you follow some vital steps after you’ve been in a car accident. Regardless of whether the worst to happen is just a fender bender or injury to a person, make sure to follow the following steps as best as possible to ensure that you and everyone else are as protected as possible.
STOP, CALL THE POLICE AND PROTECT THE SCENE
If you’ve been in an accident, you should never drive or run away from the scene as that would be considered a felony hit-and-run crime. As such, make sure everyone is ok and call the police immediately even if there has been no injury. You’ll need a police report for your insurance claim anyway and having the police at the scene while you work out the situation with the other driver is a good way to legally protect yourself as an official will be witnessing the scene throughout.
If your cars are not interfering with traffic, then make sure you protect the scene with flares or traffic cones until the cops arrive. This prevents further accidents from occurring and will also help the police assess the situation better if everything is left untouched.
GIVE YOUR STATEMENT TO THE POLICE AND TAKE PICTURES
Once the police arrive you need to give your statement regarding the events. Tell the police everything to the best of your ability. However, you need to make sure not to give any absolute statements about details you’re not sure of. If there is a certain part of the events that you are unsure of, then say so without trying to speculate. If you aren’t sure about whether you’ve been injured, then just say you’re not sure rather than saying no. If you become aware of injuries later on, then the police report could cause issues with your insurer.
Photograph any damage to property and any injuries, if suffered. You shouldn’t interfere in the police’s investigation while you’re taking pictures but try to capture as many details as you can.
CALL YOUR ATTORNEY
Before you report the incident to your insurance company, make sure you get in touch with a car accident attorney. Your attorney will guide you on how to present evidence and what details to highlight in your insurance claim. The insurance company will also want a statement from you when they are assessing your claim and speaking to an attorney can make a very big difference for such matters.
Depending on the attorney in question, you might even be free of having to fill out and file the applications for your accident compensation claim. If not, at the very least you’ll have professional advice on how to best deal with insurance companies so as you successfully obtain your insurance claim.