In an auto accident, your first thoughts usually don’t involve protecting your rights. Chaos and confusion usually leave passengers and drivers unsure of what to do first after a car accident.
However, the things you do after the accident can play a role in how successful you can be when filing a lawsuit. While we hope that you’ll never be involved in an accident, being prepared is the best way in order to make sure that the correct legal steps are taken after a crash.
Here are the legal steps that you need to take after a car accident:
- Speak With A Lawyer
When you need to file a lawsuit, it’s in your best interest to speak with car accident attorneys or personal injury lawyers. Having an experienced attorney during this process can immensely help you during the entire process.
For instance, they can help protect your rights when you need them most. Plus, they can remove the stress of dealing with all legal matters and help you focus on your recovery.
- Drive To The Side of the Road and Call For Help
After an accident, you can still be in harm’s way if you don’t move fast. Not everyone is willing to slow down or stop when approaching a crash. So, until authorities are in the scene, you need to stay inside your vehicle and assess the damage.
If your car is in a threatening shape, such as the case when there’s leaking gas that can cause an explosion, then you need to get out and move away as far as you can. Otherwise, if possible, you need to move your vehicle to the side of the road.
If you or anyone else involved in the accident is injured, you need to call 911 immediately. You should also report to the local police and have an accident report record.
- Get Medical Help
Your immediate safety and health are of the utmost importance. This should be your first concern after an accident. Getting immediate paramedic help after your accident can help you start your recovery.
Once paramedics arrive on the scene, make sure that you’re checked out and ensure that any injuries are treated and documented. Even if your injuries don’t immediately show, you might need to go to the emergency room or hospital following the crash. Some injuries such as whiplash don’t show up right away.
Medical records can help prove that your injuries were the result of the accident and the other driver’s negligence. These records can help in your pursuit of compensation.
- Talk To The Police
When the police arrive, they should get your statement for their report. You need to give them all the facts that can recall. However, make sure that you don’t say anything that can indicate responsibility on your behalf.
Oftentimes, accident victims are in shock and disoriented after a crash. Thus, they usually get the critical details wrong. If you can’t recall or you’re unsure of what really happened, refrain from talking and providing too many details.
In addition, you should take down the badge numbers and names of the officers on-scene. You can also request a copy of the police report since it can help determine the liability of the car accident.
- Speak With Witnesses
If you see any witnesses, you need to take some time speaking with them. You can get their contact info so you can provide it to your insurance company and lawyer. Witness testimony is useful as evidence.
When speaking with the witnesses, ask them if it’s okay for your insurance company to contact and talk to them. Also, you want to make sure that their statements are consistent. Otherwise, you’re only jeopardizing your claim.
- Take Pictures
Other than speaking with witnesses, you can also take pictures in order to help build your claim. Take pictures of the scene of your accident and the surrounding area. The pictures can show signs of negligence such as skid marks, which is a sign that the other driver has to immediately hit the brakes after speeding. Also, you can take pictures of all external and internal damage to your car and the other driver’s vehicle.
Finally, you need to take photos of your physical injuries so that you can show your insurance company any personal damages that occur.
Being involved in an accident, even the minor ones, can be a nerve-wracking experience. Thus, it’s important that you know the steps to take for a less-stress compensation filing. Hopefully, you’ll never be involved in a car accident, but in case you are, the above steps should help you move forward.