The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 6 million motor vehicle accidents occur every year in the United States. If you have never been involved in one yet, you can count yourself lucky. However, you should still know what to do in the aftermath of a car accident to ensure you are prepared. Taking the right steps after an accident can help ensure you do not miss out on the compensation you deserve for your losses and suffering.
Take These Steps After an Accident
No one ever expects an accident to occur, so you will likely feel overwhelmed with shock in the aftermath, especially if you have any injuries. Protect your chances of a successful personal injury claim by following these steps:
- Do not leave the scene: Even if you were not at fault for the accident, you should never drive away from the scene, regardless of how minor it might be.
- Check if anyone is injured: Before you do anything else, check to see if anyone involved in the accident was injured and in need of emergency medical attention. If it is dangerous to remain in the area where the accident occurred, pull over to a safe area nearby.
- Contact law enforcement: Even if no one was seriously injured, you should contact local law enforcement to obtain a police report, which you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. A police report will serve as crucial evidence in a personal injury claim as well.
- Obtain the other driver’s information: The police officer who writes up your report will likely collect your information and the information of the other driver and passengers involved, but you should still collect this information as well in case some of it is copied down inaccurately. Swap contact information, license plate numbers, insurance information, and the contact information for any passengers and witnesses at the scene.
- Document the scene: The aftermath of an accident is your own chance to accurately document it in pictures. If possible, take as many as you can, including the damage done to both vehicles, the scene of the accident, and any visible injuries you sustained.
- Obtain immediate medical attention: You might not think you are injured or, if you do, it might not seem serious. Keep in mind that the rush of adrenaline people frequently experience after an accident can mask painful symptoms and some injuries do not present any symptoms until a few days or weeks have passed. A trip to the doctor can determine if you suffered any injuries and ensure you receive the treatment you need to achieve a swift and full recovery.
- Contact an attorney: Insurance adjusters often try to dissuade accident victims from obtaining legal representation, but it is in your best interest to have skilled legal guidance on your side to ensure you do not get stuck with a lowball settlement.
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If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a reckless driver, reach out to the team at Chavez Law Firm for the knowledgeable and compassionate legal guidance you need.