Being in a car accident can leave you in a state of emotional and physical distress. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may be able to handle the bulk of the accident claims process at the scene of the accident. However, this becomes more complicated if you have suffered severe injuries.
If you have been severely hurt in a car accident, you may be rushed to a hospital and unable to handle any of the aftermaths of the collision. However, in the event you have not been severely hurt, here is what you should do immediately following the car accident:
While this seems like an easy enough checklist to follow, there are details in between that you will likely not be prepared for, or perhaps even able to comprehend.
Calling the police is important for a variety of reasons when a car accident occurs. The first is that if someone has acted criminally, ie. driving drunk or under the influence, the cops will be able to pick that up right away. But, they also play a critical role in the accident claims process even if the collision was a simple mistake.
The police will be the ones to write out the accident report, which can sometimes be used to determine fault. This has important details about the collision which can then be utilized by your legal team for the benefit of your lawsuit or insurance claim. Be sure to get the name and number of the officer who responds to the accident to keep in touch should you have difficulties getting the police report.
While your hope when the police arrive is for them to be able to tell right away who caused the collision, it is also possible that you could say the wrong thing, incriminating yourself. Be sure when you talk to the police you do not admit fault or accept blame. All you are required to do is tell the officer what happened as you saw it. Do not suggest what you think occurred, or embellish any details.
So long as you can move about your vehicle and you are not in any danger of harm, make sure you document as much of the accident scene as you can. This can include taking pictures of your property damage to your vehicle externally and internally, any skid marks on the road, leaking fluids, etc. Also, document the other car, and be sure to get pictures of the license plate.
If you can, try to collect a photo or video of the entirety of the accident that captures both of your vehicles. This can help prove what direction the other driver was traveling and at what speed which can ultimately be used to prove fault.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, tensions may be high between you and the other driver. If this is the case, try not to speak to the driver for too long to avoid any hostility and also to avoid taking on liability for the accident.
Instead, check in to make sure the other driver is okay, then exchange names, numbers, and insurance information. Insurance details should include the name of the insurance company, policyholder, and policy number. Be sure to also get their vehicle identification number and a description of the vehicle involved in the accident.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to talk to them. They may be able to provide the cops with a statement about what occurred, as well as give testimony if needed later on. Ask for their contact information so you can reconnect with them and your lawyer, too.
Even if you do not think you sustained any injuries in the accident, be sure to seek medical attention. If you or a passenger were pregnant, it is also critical to have an evaluation of the pregnancy to ensure there were no complications because of the collision.
Remember that not all car accident injuries are obvious right away, some take days to emerge. This can include injuries like:
Once you have sought medical attention, you must document all of the care you have received and the related costs. In some cases, you may be able to recoup compensation for the costs of medical bills and long-term needed care.
In the day or days following the car accident, you will want to call the insurance companies. Depending on the state you live in and if it is a fault or no-fault state will determine whose insurance is responsible for your losses.
If you are struggling with the insurance companies or simply know you cannot handle them alone, a car accident attorney can serve as your representative and negotiate with the adjusters on your behalf.
Further, if no settlement is reached, the attorney can bring the case to trial to seek a verdict or settlement that will compensate you for your suffering.
Being in a car accident is stressful, and when you’ve been hurt, you may not have the ability to handle the insurance companies or a case alone. At Regan Zambri Long, we have helped injured drivers just like you secure millions in settlements and verdicts following a car accident.
Our team of Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland attorneys can handle your case from start to finish, or jump in to aid you at any step of the way. And, money is no object when it comes to securing the compensation that is rightfully yours. We work on a contingency fee basis meaning you don’t pay anything upfront, we collect a percentage at the end of the claim or case.
For a no-obligation free consultation, contact the DC, MD, and VA car accident attorneys of Regan Zambri Long at 202-960-4596 or by connecting with us online.