Drivers that are involved in an auto accident will often find themselves shaken, confused, and unsure of how to protect their finances and their future. While it may seem easier to simply exchange insurance information with other drivers and head home, this could be a mistake with long-term consequences.
Drivers may find themselves dealing with ongoing injuries and unsure of where to turn for compensation. Here is a look at a few important steps that every driver should take immediately following an auto accident.
Think About Safety First
The safety of all passengers, drivers, and bystanders should be everyone’s priority following an accident. Even though it may seem as if you will be altering evidence, all vehicles and parties involved should be moved to a safe location. Vehicles that have not been severely damaged should be pulled off of the road and parked in a safe area.
If you suspect that anyone is injured, then it is important to call 9-1-1 even if they say they are fine. Some people will not notice their injuries immediately because of the adrenaline.
While many insist that it is not necessary to call the police immediately following an accident, it is always a good idea to have a police report made if the accident is anything more than a minor fender bender.
Collect Vital Information
It is important to collect as much information as possible, but most drivers will want to refrain from speaking with one another too much. Anything that is said to other drivers, witnesses, or police officers may be used at a later time if there is a trial or mediation with the insurance companies.
The first thing to do is acquire the names of everyone involved, their contact information, and their insurance information. If officers do arrive on the scene, then you should also collect their name and badge number.
As a general rule, you will want to give only the minimum amount of information to the other drivers and the officers. Even if the accident appears to be straightforward in terms of which parties were at fault, you may not be thinking clearly and any claims you make could be incorrect.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Most insurance providers have a very limited window in which a client must contact them following an accident. For many companies, this window ranges from 48 to 72 hours assuming the driver is healthy enough to contact them.
Failing to contact the insurance provider within that period of time can actually void the policy and make future claims extremely difficult. Much like at the scene of the accident, you should only give your insurance provider basic information before contacting an attorney.
Contact Legal Representation
An auto accident that involves an injury can become an incredibly complex situation. After paying for years of insurance premiums, many drivers assume that they will be given the financial compensation that they need to pay medical bills, repair their vehicle, and move on with their life, but that is not always the case.
Having an attorney by one’s side is the only way to ensure that this process goes as smoothly as possible. Even if the situation does not escalate into a civil trial, an attorney can contact one’s insurance provider and handle the amount of compensation that is received.
Continue Caring for Your Health
Millions of accidents take place every year and these collisions are almost always traumatizing. It is important for you and anyone else that is injured to focus on your recovery while the attorney carries out all of the legwork for your case. In the end, it is your health and well-being that must be protected at all costs.