Six Steps to Take after Being Involved in a Car Crash
In Missouri, more car crashes happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other time of year. Car accidents and the events that follow often bring stress onto those that experience them, even if they were not at fault. People involved in car crashes are often injured, there is often damage to vehicles, and the difficulty of trying to continue life while figuring out how to deal with the aftermath of the accident can be overwhelming. With the summer in full swing, it is important to know the proper steps to take after being involved in a car accident.
1. Call the Police
One of the duties of law enforcement is to respond to and investigate car accidents. If anyone was injured in the crash, call 911. If no one was seriously hurt, you can call the area’s local law enforcement agency’s non-emergency number to report the accident and your location. Wait there until law enforcement arrives.
2. Don’t Admit Fault
One of the biggest mistakes people make after being in car accidents is making statements that pin the fault on themselves, even when they weren’t the driver at fault. Do not say anything like “I should have slowed down,” or “I was distracted,” to anyone on the scene. These statements could be used against you later.
3. Gather Evidence
If you feel well enough to do so, take photographs and videos of the damage done to your car, and to your body. Capture different angles of the damage and injuries so nothing is left out. If the accident caused surrounding property to be damaged, take photographs and video of that damage as well. If there was a hazardous condition that caused the accident, you should also take photographs and video of that, if you are able. You can never have too much evidence.
Normally after an accident, law enforcement conveniently arrives and writes a report that includes everyone’s contact information, insurance information, and a description of the accident. Do your best to cooperate with the responding officers and the other driver(s) at the scene. If for some reason law enforcement does not respond to the crash, write down the other drivers’ contact information and insurance information, or save the information in your cell phone. It is also important to get contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
4. Seek Medical Treatment and Evaluation
Even minor accidents can leave a driver or passenger injured. After being in a crash, even if you don’t feel like you’re hurt, it is always a good idea to be examined by a doctor. Car crashes can be startling, and those involved are often hit with a burst of adrenaline immediately after the collision, which makes a person unaware of pain and discomfort until the adrenaline wears off later.
After being examined by the physician, follow that physician’s orders and directives for your treatment. You may be referred to specialists, physical therapy, or counseling services. Sometimes the recovery process is a long one but choosing not to follow through with aftercare services and treatments chosen for you can be detrimental to your recovery.
5. Notify Your Insurance Company
Without giving an official or recorded statement, contact your auto insurance company and simply let them know there has been an accident. As mentioned previously, do not admit fault. If the insurance agent asks for more details or a description of what happened, let them know that you will be hiring an attorney that will provide the insurance company with all necessary information.
6. Hire An Attorney
Hiring an attorney knowledgeable about personal injury law is the best way to protect your rights and ensure that you will receive fair and full compensation. Personal injury lawyers regularly deal with insurance companies and large businesses, and their expertise proves beneficial when determining what “fair” compensation is in each case. The attorney will handle investigative work, gathering of necessary documentation, negotiations, and of course, the lawsuit if one must be filed.
Please be cautious while driving during these summer months. If you end up being one of the many people that are involved in a car crash, follow these steps for best results, and schedule a free consultation with the Liberty car accident lawyers of House Packard McElderry, LLC by calling (816) 381-9105. Happy driving!