Statistically, each person in the United States will be involved in a car accident at least once in their life. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a major collision, car accidents can be startling and distressing experiences. When you’re living in the immediate moment of a car accident, it’s difficult to know which steps to take or how you should handle the scene. In fact, most people tend to freeze up in shock.
To ensure you’re prepared for this situation, our Hartford car accident attorneys have compiled a list of 7 steps you should take following a car accident.
Step #1: Call 911
When a car accident occurs, this first thing you must do is check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Even if all parties seem fine, it’s still necessary to call 911 and seek medical attention. If you are seriously injured, request that a passenger, the other driver, or a witness call 911 for you. If you can, turn off your car engine and turn your hazard lights on.
When emergency personnel arrive, they can care for any injured parties while the police fill out an accident report.
It’s important that you don’t leave the scene no matter the circumstances.
Step #2: Exchange Insurance Information
If it’s safe to do so, take time to talk to the other driver and exchange insurance information. Be certain not to imply or accept fault for the accident. Once you’re finished talking to the police, call your insurance company to report the incident and share the other driver’s insurance information.
When you talk to your insurance company, make sure to be honest about the incident and the extent of your injuries.
Step #3: Document the Scene
If you’re planning to file a personal injury claim, it’s essential that you start documenting information immediately. If you’re injured, you can request that one of your passengers assists you. This information can also help your insurance company when they are in the process of determining fault.
Compile the following information:
- Write down the names and addresses of everyone involved. You can also use your smartphone to take pictures of licenses and insurance information.
- Take pictures of both vehicles from different angles (don’t miss the other driver’s license plate). If you can (and if it’s safe!), take these pictures before the vehicles are moved.
- Talk to any witnesses and take down their contact information.
- If you are a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle, take pictures of your receipt.
- Identify the police officers who are handling the scene of the accident. If you can, write down their names and badge numbers.
- Request a copy of the accident report. A police officer can tell you where you can obtain a copy.
Step #4: Seek Medical Treatment
It’s important to seek medical attention after your accident. This serves two vital purposes: it validates your personal injury claim, and it ensures that your injures are properly documented and treated by a medical professional.
Even if you don’t feel injured after an accident, you need to at least get checked by a doctor. Some car accident injuries aren’t immediately apparent to the untrained eye, and sometimes people confuse neck sprains and cervical spine damage as symptoms of whiplash. A trained medical professional can accurately assess your injuries and prescribe you any necessary treatments.
If you can’t seek medical attention immediately, at least do it within 7 days. The rival insurance company may claim that your injuries aren’t serious enough to warrant damages if you don’t take the appropriate steps to seek medical attention in a timely manner. Plus, your medical record can serve as evidence in your personal injury case.
Step #5: Keep Records of Medical Treatments & Receipts
If you want to secure financial damages in a personal injury lawsuit, you must assemble and organize copies of your medical records and any receipts relating to your accident.
Compile the following information:
- Take notes about any doctors, chiropractors, and therapists you meet with
- Obtain a copy of your police report
- Keep copies of your medical records and hospital bills
- Make a detailed account of any treatments and medications you receive
Step #6: Record how Your Injuries are Impacting Your Daily Life
Memories can be fickle, and you don’t want them to fail you when it comes to dealing with insurance companies or your personal injury case. If you can, keep a record of how your injuries are negatively impacting your daily life.
This record should include:
- Missed work days
- Activities you can no longer complete
- Any impacts to your social relationships
Step #7: Hire Legal Representation
While this is Step 7 on the list, we actually recommend retaining legal representation as soon as possible. A lawyer can guide you through this complicated legal process and negotiate with both insurance companies on your behalf. This can protect you from prematurely accepting a settlement that provides limited compensation. An attorney is dedicated to representing your best interests and pursuing damages that can facilitate your recovery process.
Schedule a Consultation
Contact Goff law Group if you require legal representation and have been injured in an automobile collision. When you schedule a consultation with our team, we can review your case and thoroughly evaluate your legal options. Our Hartford car accident attorneys can help you navigate this complex legal process and fight for your right to maximum damages.