Determine whether you have suffered any severe injuries.
Immediately after a car accident it is quite common for those involved to become upset, angry, or scared. Try your best to stay calm and collected. Determine if you or others in your vehicle have sustained any injuries. If anyone needs immediate medical attention, you should contact emergency medical personnel. Furthermore, check the surroundings to make sure it is absolutely safe to step out of the vehicle.
Determine the extent of car accident damage.
Take action to record and analyze the damages done to your vehicle by the collision. Since chances are you are not a car accident damages specialist, you should take pictures with a camera or create written details of the damages to your vehicle. It might also be to your advantage to note the car damages suffered by the other party or parties.
File an car accident report with help from the police.
A police report can be one of the most important pieces of evidence from a car accident scene. A police report is a written record of the statements made by the individual(s) who filed the report and of the police officer’s observations, thoughts, opinions and any statement made by other people involved in the vehicle collision. What the officer noted or documented in the official police report will be critical in determining fault and liability later on.
Wait for the police to arrive and discuss your car accident only with the police and your insurance agent.
After an accident you will be shook up and it might be hard not to discuss the details of the car accident with other parties. Be careful not to admit any fault or liability, because what you reveal can be used against you. Even if you initially believe the car accident is your fault, by waiting to learn more about the facts of the accident, you might realize the other party is more at fault than you are. It is smarter to discuss what you think happened with the police and insurance agent after calmly collecting your thoughts.
Get the relevant information from other drivers involved in your car accident.
It is very important to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident. A description of the car and license plate number can also be helpful. Make sure you also get the other party’s insurance company’s name and vehicle identification number. The vehicle identification number (VIN) is 17 characters and does not include the letter I, O, or, Q. The VIN can be found at the dashboard on the driver side of the vehicle. VIN can also be found at the doorpost (where the door latches when it is closed), on an insurance card, insurance policy, or on vehicle title and registration documents. Do not assume the license plate number is all you need because most insurance companies only record the type of car and the vehicle identification number, not the license plate number.
Contact your insurance agent.
Call your insurance agent’s 800-number as soon as possible after a car accident. You can even call them at the scene of the car accident and let the police officer give your insurance company a more accurate account of the accident. This can save you a lot of time later as you wait for your claim to be processed.
You delay in seeking needed medical treatment.
Solution: Do not delay seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident. Many people delay seeking medical help after a vehicle collision because they want to sort out who is paying and how much is to be paid. Such inaction leads to procrastination and works against you. Gaps in time between car accident and medical treatment can cause significant damages to the value of your case. It is much wiser to seek out medical treatment earlier and to sort out who is paying for it later. By seeking immediate and necessary treatment you will better prevent or lessen physical injury to yourself and help you car accident cause.
You delay in repairing your damaged vehicle.
Solution: Insurance companies will definitely look at the damage done to your car when evaluating your personal injury claims. Do not delay in getting an estimate on total damages. Take your damaged car to at least a few different body shops and select the shop that gives you the most complete repair cost estimate. A complete repair cost estimate includes cost of a thorough repair with new parts and cost of labor. Have your own insurance company pay for the damages, since your insurance company does not have a bias against you to keep damages to a minimum. When analyzing your bodily injury claim later on, the other side’s insurance company will have a nice large repair bill in its hands when judging the seriousness of your car accident.
You delay in retaining counsel.
Solution: Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your car accident claim is one of the smartest things you can do. A competent personal injury lawyer knows the legal pitfalls and how to avoid stepping into them. A car accident attorney will step in between you and the insurance company, and he or she will deal with the other party’s car insurance adjusters. Your car accident attorney can help you settle your claims for fifty percent higher than what you can achieve on your own or with the help of non-attorneys. Usually it pays more to settle your insurance claims with help from a personal injury lawyer.