You might think that all you need to do after an accident is going to the hospital if you’re hurt, call the police if it’s a crime, and file an insurance claim. But there are other things you should be doing too. It’s important to be proactive after an accident to ensure your safety and well-being.
In this article, we’ll explore what you need to do after the accident to ensure your safety- both physically and legally.
What to do after an accident
Seeking medical attention
If you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. delaying medical treatment can make your injuries worse and could jeopardize any potential legal case. Most insurance policies cover medical expenses, so you will likely not have to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If you are not injured but think you may have been exposed to something that could make you sick, see a doctor too. Some injuries or illnesses may not show up for days or weeks after the accident.
File an insurance claim
Most likely, you have some sort of auto insurance that will cover the accident. Check your policy to see what is covered and call your company as soon as possible. Have a copy of the police report with you when you speak with the claims adjuster so they know everything is on the up and up. If there are any injuries or damage to property, be sure to have those records with you too.
Filing a police report
If there were injuries or damages to vehicles or property, you must file an accident report with the local law enforcement agency. The sooner this is done, the better because it will help document exactly what happened so everyone involved can give accurate details of how it started, escalated, and ended. Be sure to ask for a copy of the report for your records too. You can also file a supplemental report if anything changes after you talk to your insurance company.
For example, if the police determine that someone is at fault and their insurance doesn’t cover any of the damages they caused, filing a supplemental report will make sure your insurer knows about it too.
Taking pictures of the scene
If no one has seen it except for you, taking pictures of what happened can prove helpful in case disaster strikes- like if someone accuses you of causing their injuries or damages. Be sure to take several shots from different angles that show where everyone’s vehicles are located before moving anything. Be sure to take photos of any damage, including skid marks if you can.
What not to do after an accident
Don’t leave the scene! If there are injuries or damage to vehicles or property, you must stay on the scene until everything is documented and there’s been a chance for law enforcement officials to collect information from everyone involved. Leaving before a police officer says it’s okay or trying to ‘trade’ insurance info with other parties is against the law in most states. If you aren’t clear about what needs to happen next, ask for clarification.
Don’t let anyone else leave either! If they do, you need to inform the police officer so they can contact them and get their side of things too. Don’t assume that because it seems like a cut and dry case that someone else will be responsible.
Protecting yourself legally and financially
Of course, you need to contact an auto injury attorney to help you through this ordeal and be able to protect your legal and financial rights. You want an attorney experienced in representing people who were hurt by car accidents because they will know how the insurance company might try to treat you if there is a lawsuit involved.
The aftermath of an accident can be messy and confusing, but at least now you have the information you need to take care of yourself first so that you are protected as much as possible. Keep documentation on hand about what happens before, during, and after an auto accident so you’re prepared no matter what.
No one wants to be in an accident, but if you are, it’s important to know what to do. Make sure you seek medical attention if you’re injured, file a police report, and contact your insurance company. Be sure to take pictures of the scene of the accident and keep any evidence related to it. By taking these steps, you can ensure that you are as safe and protected as possible from any potential legal or financial ramifications of the accident.