Even if it’s a minor one, being involved in a car accident is a dreadful experience. You and other people may incur injuries because of it. Sometimes it may even damage your vehicle. This means spending much on repairs and paying for medical bills.
However, you can minimize such by knowing what steps to take after a car accident. Do the following steps to help yourself in the future:
1. Get To Safety
Going to safety doesn’t mean fleeing the scene. What you should do is to check if you and your passengers are injured. If this is so, then weigh if their injuries won’t get worse when they move. Get out of your car and stay on the safe part of the road.
If you know how to apply first-aid, do so as it may save you or your passengers from worsening the injuries. However, there are specific injuries to which you must wait for the professional emergency team to respond. That way, you will not endanger the injured person.
When it’s safe to move around, set up emergency flares, warning triangles, or orange cones around the accident scene. By doing so, you can warn other drivers that an accident occurred. In case there are no injuries, move your car to a safe spot to avoid blocking the traffic. Depending on the laws in your state, it’s illegal to move your vehicle away from the scene of the accident, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with your traffic laws.
2. Document The Scene
Next is to document the scene because it’ll help you and your injury lawyers in case you file a claim or lawsuit. What you must do is to make an accurate record of what happened. You’ll need to record what exactly happened and never guess or speculate.
That’s why taking pictures or videos of the scene will be helpful. Photograph the vehicles involved, their plate numbers, as well as the injured people in the scene. You may also need to interview witnesses who may have seen what transpired. However, you must ensure that you do this without interfering with the investigation of the proper authorities.
Moreover, you should also get the names of the drivers of the vehicles and responding officers and their badge numbers. Since they’ll be making an accident report, you can ask for a copy from them. That way, you can have an original or rough draft of their report for future references.
3. Report The Accident
While you’re documenting the scene, you must report the accident to 911 so they can dispatch local authorities and emergency teams to the area. You can also notify your loved ones so they can assist you when you need to go to the hospital or when it’s time to go home. Or you can even call your car accident lawyer to help you.
You shouldn’t forget to notify your insurance company because most policies require full cooperation and immediate reporting. Ask if you have medical benefits under your insurance policy so you can use it, especially if you’re paying extra for it, known as Medpay.
If you have Medpay coverage, then you need to submit your medical bills related to the accident to your insurance company. The benefits of Medpay extend to the other occupants of your vehicle. Remember, though, that your insurance rates shouldn’t increase because of claiming your insurance.
4. Seek Medical Attention
As mentioned, you’ll need to submit medical reports to your insurance company, so it’s a must to consult a physician after a car accident. Don’t wait for days to pass by before going to the hospital. Even if you think you have minor injuries, you still need to consult a doctor because there may be injuries that are internal or not visible.
Invisible injuries are the ones that may not immediately show right after being injured. Instead, the symptoms become visible weeks or days after being injured. For instance, symptoms of whiplash, head, and neck or spinal injuries may manifest hours or after some days.
- Whiplash is due to the forceful back and forth movement of your neck, leading to loss of range of motion, stiffness, and neck pain. Some may develop symptoms after a day, while others may develop multiple days after the accident.
- Traumatic head injuries are severe injuries resulting in skull fractures, concussions, and other brain injuries. Some are evident by bruising or bleeding, while delayed symptoms are amnesia, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.
- Neck and spinal injuries may lead to extreme cases of paralysis. You may feel a kink in your neck or back pain, but this may mean damage to your vertebrae or spinal discs.
That’s why going to the hospital right after a car accident is essential so they can diagnose these invisible injuries. If detected, you may get the proper treatment to prevent it from worsening. Moreover, immediate medical attention is also required when filing claims because some policies don’t acknowledge medical attention, which occurred days after the accident.
5. Hire A Lawyer
One of the best decisions you can do after a car accident is to hire a car accident lawyer. With a car accident lawyer, you have someone to help you with the legal requirements of filing a claim. Instead of you talking to insurance companies, your car accident lawyer will do it on your behalf.
Since lawyers know the laws governing car accidents, they know what documents to prepare and submit to your insurance companies. Including the statute of limitations wherein filing a claim has a legal deadline. Some states have a two-year limitation to file a lawsuit or claim from the day the accident happened. After the time has elapsed, you can’t file a claim anymore.
Your accident lawyer will also help you acquire evidence such as police reports, witness testimonies, photographs of the scene, and the like. These pieces of evidence are vital to substantiate your claim.
The lawyer will also be the one to negotiate with insurance companies to get the amount of claim you deserve. These processes are time-consuming, so getting the right help will allow you to heal your injuries.
Sometimes, people involved in a car accident don’t know what to do, resulting in claim disputes and the like. That’s why doing the sections above will help you in the future. Being a careful driver isn’t enough because some drivers may be the reason for being in a car accident. But if you’re well-knowledgeable on the things you must do after a car accident; you will not have to worry about filing claims and the like.