Getting into a car accident can be scary and stressful. As a result, it is important to try to keep a balanced mind and make the best decisions for yourself and your future. Here are six things to do if you’ve been in an accident.
1. Report it to the authorities
You should always report an accident, even if it appears minor. Your insurance company will likely need a police report to cover damage, even if it’s just a fender bend. Often you don’t notice immediately what damage has been caused to your vehicle, and sometimes injuries are not immediately noticeable. An official accident report helps immensely when your case goes to court.
2. Contact a professional
It is important to get the perspective of a professional who understands the legal system and liability issues. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as you can determine if you have a case. They can advise you on what to do next, especially if you were not responsible for the accident. Protecting your interests should be a top priority and a lawyer can help you with that. You should make sure that you can pay for the repair or replacement of your vehicle, medical bills, and that you are reimbursed for your pain and suffering.
3. Have a medical examination
Even if you are feeling well, you should get a full medical examination after an accident. Often times, injuries don’t happen right away and you can feel the effects hours, days, or even weeks later. If you see a doctor, you will also receive documentation of all injuries and be able to prove that the injuries occurred in the accident.
4. Take photos
Make sure that all damage to your vehicle is fully documented. Although an insurance provider is likely to take photos as well, it’s a good idea to take your own as soon as possible after your accident. Make sure you get pictures of every side of the vehicle as well as any damage to the interior of your vehicle. If possible, you should also document your injuries. Be sure to take photos of bruises showing where your body was affected.
5. Get as much information as you can
Receive all the information you can get immediately after the accident. If you can, you will be given the names of all parties involved and their insurance information, as well as the names and contact information of all witnesses. Also, write down the make and model of other vehicles involved. As you go through the post-accident process, make sure you get copies of the relevant police reports, document the names and contact information of the healthcare providers, and note who you spoke to and when at all insurance companies involved. With the time and pen and paper on hand, write down any details of the weather, traffic, or anything else that may have contributed to the conditions.
6. Notify your insurance company
It is imperative that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The earlier your accident is documented, the sooner your insurance company can make a claim. They can also help you get relevant information and police reports, and remind you of some of the steps to take. If you can, be sure to discuss your coverage with your insurance company so that you can get a good idea of what is and what is not covered by your policy.
It can be difficult to focus on doing the right things when you’re upset and potentially hurt. If you’ve just had an accident, take a moment to think about your next steps. Following these tips will help you resolve many of the potential problems you may face in the future.
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