Getting in a car accident is always a harrowing experience. Sometimes, there’s a clear line drawn as to which party is at fault. Most of the time, however, things aren’t that clean cut. There are a variety of factors that come in to play, and the exact sequence of events can sometimes get jumbled. If you throw the various involved parties into the mix, including insurance companies, what you have is a very complicated legal situation. Here are things you should do right after a car accident, to keep the crisis as manageable as possible, and for you to get out with the least subsequent damage.
1. Stop the car
You should never, under any circumstances, drive away from the scene of an accident, no matter how minor. You have a legal obligation to preserve the scene until the authorities arrive. You can prevent future collisions by setting off flares, or by switching on the hazard lights. If your head lights are disabled, use a flashlight. Wait by your car, or at the side of the road.
2. Call the Police
The accident may seem relatively minor to you, with no major injuries, but it’s always the best idea to call the police. Making sure there is a legal accident report is very important, especially if you’d like to claim insurance. Unless the vehicles involved severely impede traffic they should remain where they are. Make sure you do not admit responsibility for the accident in any way, insurance claims will not be applicable if you take responsibility for the altercation. Let your insurance company do the talking.
3. Check for injuries and get medical attention
If anyone needs immediate medical attention, make sure they receive it. Often, in road accidents, injuries are not immediately apparent. Concussions, internal bruising, and internal fractures are all possible with no immediate visible repercussions. Sometimes, medical attention will bring internal injuries to light. Even if nothing is obvious, make sure everyone involved undergoes a complete checkup. Your local emergency room is the best place to visit.
4. Do not engage the other party
Keep your conversation with the other party involved in the accident limited. It will prevent any further legal complications. Only talk about the accident with the police, your insurance company, medical professionals and your attorney.
5. Take pictures
Take pictures of all visible damages of the vehicles, and any physical injuries as well. Do not impede the investigation process, but make sure to keep these well documented for your own sake. A cell phone camera serves the purpose as well as any other. Do NOT let anyone take a picture of your driver’s license! That information is not really necessary, and can put your identity at risk. The pictures are only a way to keep the scene intact if the cars have to be moved before a proper report is compiled.
6. Make your record accurate
Try to keep your record to the police as factual as possible. Do not make assumptions or embellishments. Only state what you know, and if possible, can back up. It is alright to admit you don’t know a certain fact. It’s better to admit that, than to misstate a fact. That extends to medical injuries as well. If you’re not absolutely certain you’re not hurt, don’t say so.
7. Contact your insurance providers
A lot of insurance policies specify that you must report the incident as soon as possible, and give them your full cooperation. Check your policy to see if you have coverage for primary accident-related injuries. This insurance is called “medpay”. Once those benefits are acquired, private health insurance becomes your primary insurer. Your insurance rates should not change if you choose to claim medpay coverage.
8. Contact your attorney!
Last, but hardly the least, contact your attorney! There is no one better equipped to walk you through this legal landmine. Insurance companies require statements to process your insurance, and your lawyer can walk you through the process, legal advice is invaluable! Bailey Law firm offer some of the best personal injury attorneys in Arizona. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, so you only pay legal fees in case of recovery. Needless to say, this is a very important step to take right after your accident.