So you’ve been in an accident…now what?

Everything is silent for a moment. Your heart is pumping so loudly in your chest. Your mouth is dry and palms are sweaty. You are scared. You aren’t sure if everyone is alright. You may be injured as you just experienced a car accident. These situations are disorienting in and of themselves but you can further hurt yourself if youd o not follow this specific steps at the scene of an accident. Be sure to call Pak Law Offices for more information.

What should you do if you’re in a car accident? When it happens,
injuries may be severe and emotions high. However, there are important
things to do at the scene of the accident and soon afterward. Below is a
list of things to do after an accident, if possible. Keep this
information handy by printing this helpful pamphlet on first steps after an auto accident and storing it in your car.

Stay at the Scene

Never leave the accident scene until it’s appropriate to do so. If
you leave, particularly where someone has sustained injuries or was
killed, you can face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver.

Check on All Drivers and Passengers

Before assessing property damage, make sure everyone involved in the
accident is okay. Get medical attention for anyone who needs it. If a
person is unconscious or has neck or back pain, don’t move them until
qualified medical help arrives, unless a hazard requires moving the
person.

Call the Police

If there’s significant property damage, physical injury, or death, you need to call the police. Ask that a police report  be filed in situations where cops do arrive at the scene, and obtain the name and badge numbers of the responding officers.

Exchange Information

Get the names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license
plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers
involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and
addresses. In talking to other drivers, try to be cordial and
cooperative.

However, you shouldn’t apologize for anything at the scene. For
example, if you say, “I’m so sorry I ran that red light! Is everyone
okay?” you may be admitting legal liability
for what happened. Immediately after an accident, it might not be clear
who was at fault or more at fault. Moreover, in many states, fault
isn’t determinative of which insurer will pay for any loss. Therefore,
try not to admit guilt unintentionally or unnecessarily.

Talk to Witnesses

Ask every witness what he or she saw. Get their names, numbers, or
addresses, if possible. Ask locals if they’ve ever witnessed other
accidents in the same place.

Inform Your Insurance Company

Promptly tell your insurance company you’ve
been in an accident. Cooperate with them and tell them the truth about
what happened and the extent of your injuries. Explain the facts
clearly. If the insurance company finds out that you’ve lied to them
about anything, you can get into serious trouble, including possible
denial of coverage for the accident. Obtain and review any police report
filed, so you can point out who broke what traffic laws or who was at
fault.

Keep Track of Your Medical Treatment

Note any doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or other
medical professionals that you receive treatment from, and each medical
provider that referred you to other caregivers. Keep a detailed account
of the treatments or medications you receive. Also, request copies of
all medical reports and bills as these help you prove your medical
expenses later.

Medical expenses are relatively easy to document, but pain and suffering is
trickier to prove. Keep a record of how your injuries have impacted
your daily life. Include any missed workdays, list any routine
activities you can’t undertake, and describe how the injuries have
affected your family life.

Take Pictures

Take photographs of any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible
after the accident. Photos helps your insurance adjuster determine how
much you should be compensated for the damage to your car and can help
in court. Pictures of your car before the accident can offer a great
“compare and contrast” to show the true extent of the damage sustained
in the accident.

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