Accidents are such tragic events especially if you are not the person at fault. Someone could get injured in an accident or worse, lives could be lost. If you ever find yourself or someone you know in such a situation, keep reading to understand the steps you should follow as a victim of an accident.
Take the Other Driver’s Information
The first thing you will want to do after stepping out of your vehicle is to make a note of the other driver’s license plate. Just in case it was a hit-and-run attempt, try to read the other driver’s license plate or at least get the car model and color. If the other driver steps out of their car, you will want to exchange information with them. You will want to get their name, phone number, a picture of their ID, and write down their license plate number. Yous should also write down what type of car and model it is. Make sure to not admit guilt at any time of the conversation as the other driver can use that information against you.
Pictures are critical information in every car crash incident. Taking pictures of the accident scene is important because this will be the basis of the cars’ condition, so it is better to take pictures of every damaged part in detail. Take pictures of the actual damage done to your car, the other driver’s car, the license plate, the driver’s license, and the car’s license. These are all relevant information that you can use in case you will file a claim later on.
Contact the Police
Immediately contact the police. Seeking police assistance will ensure that you will get your full rights. Even in the case of a hit and run, it is absolutely crucial to contact the police. You will want to inform the police with all the information you have. If you managed to catch if they were a man or a woman, you should inform the police of that as well. You can also tell them an approximation of the other driver’s speed if you think it was a speeding issue. When talking to the police, you don’t want to say or imply anything that will lead them to think that you are guilty. You mustn’t, at any time, hide any information from the police or give them false information. If you are not sure about anything, you will want to inform them that you’re not certain. If the other driver is still there, and it wasn’t a hit and run, you want to tell the police immediately if you noticed they had given them false information. It is better to have witnesses of the accident, so if any other car that witnessed the accident stayed to help, ask them to stay until the police come. You should stay calm until the police reach you, try not to have any violent interaction with the other party whether with words or physical violence.
Call an Ambulance and Seek Medical Care
If you are at all injured, the other driver, or any other person inside or outside one of the vehicles, the first thing you should do is contact an ambulance. Try to immediately provide the injured with suitable first aid but keep in mind not to move them just in case they have any broken bones. Even if you have injuries that you think are small, you will still want to seek medical care. If you have no visible injuries and you don’t feel any type of pain, still go to the nearest medical facility and get checked out in case of internal bleeding or unseen injuries.
Get an Attorney
With all the legal work you will have to go through with the police and the insurance company, you will need a legal representative. A basic rule is that when you’re injured in an accident, call a qualified attorney to ensure that you’re dealing with a professional that knows what they are doing. If you don’t already have a legal attorney, you must get in contact with a good one as soon as possible. Going down to the police station frequently and knowing and understanding your rights is really hard and tiring. Getting an attorney ensures that you have a legal advisor and that you have someone to tell you about your rights and the procedures you should follow. Another reason you will want to do that is that often insurance companies will try and get you to settle for an amount less than what you deserve, or they will try to deny you your rights entirely. An attorney will make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.
Gathering evidence is step one to receiving your rights. The procedure of gathering evidence starts from when you first get the other driver’s information. When talking to your attorney, make sure to share with them all the information you gathered and to tell them all the information you shared with the police. Provide your attorney with the location of the accident so that they can get legal access to footage from nearby shop cameras, for example. Do not try to go get this footage yourself without legal authorization, as that is against the law. The hospital report of your injury is a piece of evidence for the amount of damage the accident has caused you physically, so make sure you get a copy of that from the hospital. On top of that, the pictures you took of both cars are considered as evidence and should be handed to both the police and your attorney.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It is best to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them about the accident. Though the accident will make you rush about contacting the insurers yourself, it is better to let your attorney call the insurance company on your behalf. Your attorney will provide the insurance company with all the information proving that the accident wasn’t your fault, and informing them of the physical damages done to you. In some cases, the other driver’s insurance company will be handling all payments to repair your car, but they might want to let you settle for getting a small amount of money. Make sure that you have your attorney with you during any meetings and to let the attorney read any settlements before signing anything.
Don’t walk away from an accident without ensuring you did everything to receive your rights. Any piece of information that has come to your attention from the moment of the accident, to the moment the police arrive, and to the moment you meet your attorney, can be something of importance. Even if you find anything irrelevant or not important, provide both the police and your attorney with it.