There are over six million car accidents in the United States every year. If you’ve been involved in such an accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused. The last thing you want to think about is dealing with insurance companies and police reports. However, you must follow these steps after your accident.
#1 Move Your Car to a Safe Place
The first thing to do after a car accident is to move your car if it is blocking traffic. On average, commuters in the United States waste 54 hours in traffic every year. You wouldn’t want your damaged car to add to that tally.
If you are unable to drive or have an injured passenger, call for help right away. You should not attempt to move your vehicle if it’s leaking fluids or smoking heavily, as this may create a fire hazard.
Once you have moved your vehicle out of the way of traffic and parked it safely on the side of the road (if possible), assess any potential damage caused by the collision. Make sure all doors unlock so that other drivers can see where you are moving from behind their mirrors and make way accordingly. Check for leaks under the hood as well. If any fluids are leaking from under there, try shutting off all power before attempting anything else with caution/
#2 Document the Accident with Photos
Start by taking photos of the accident scene. Close-up shots are particularly important so that you can document any damage to your car and other vehicles involved in the accident. You may also want to take pictures of nearby street signs or any other potential landmarks that could help you identify where exactly this happened.
After that, take photos of your car after the accident. If possible, take photos from both inside and outside of the vehicle because sometimes, what looks fine on one side can be heavily damaged on another.
Also, make sure to include close-ups so that there’s no question about how bad things are when they’re shown as evidence later on down the line.
Lastly, take pictures of any injuries you or your passengers sustained. These images will serve as proof when you go to make an insurance claim.
#3 Exchange Insurance Information
You’re required by law to exchange this information, and if you don’t, it could cost you in the long run. If your insurance company doesn’t know about the incident, they may deny coverage or pay less than they should because they don’t have enough information. They may also require that you pay for damages out of pocket before any help from them is provided at all.
It’s important to note that some companies will refuse coverage altogether if you don’t report an accident within 24 hours of it happening (48 hours in some states).
#4 Contact the Police Department
Get in touch with your local law enforcement agency to file a report. This will help secure proof that a crime has been committed, which can make any insurance claims easier for you to file in the future.
The police officer who takes your statement may also be able to connect you with medical professionals that can treat your injuries as well as provide eyewitness accounts of what happened on the scene. You can also share copies of the photos or videos you took of the accident with the officer.
#5 Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and get the compensation you need. Here’s how:
- They know how to deal with insurance companies, which will make it easier for you to get a fair settlement.
- They can help you recover damages from the driver who injured you.
- They can assist you in obtaining justice if there are any witnesses or video footage of the accident scene that could prove helpful in determining fault.
You must hire a lawyer from the state or region where the accident took place. For instance, if the accident took place in St. Louis, Missouri, you need someone who is authorized to practice law there. Thus, you have to find a personal injury lawyer in St. Louis who can help you with the case. Not only are they allowed to practice in that region, but they are also well-versed with such cases. Therefore, you can expect them to handle your cases with the utmost care and professionalism.
Personal injury lawyers usually charge $100-$500 an hour. They can also ask for a commission of 33-40% from the compensation you receive.
#6 Seek Medical Attention
It’s important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. If you’re injured, they can treat you and provide information about the extent of your injuries. You should also consider getting checked for internal injuries, broken bones, and concussions.
If you do suffer an injury or illness as a result of the accident, having documentation from a medical professional can help with recovering compensation from the responsible party.
These steps are designed to ensure that you and your passengers stay safe after a car accident. They also help you recover the damages you deserve from the person who caused the collision.
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