Being involved in a car accident is a scary experience. You can become disoriented and confused, which can lead you to make mistakes that may be costly later on when it’s time to determine the compensation that you’re entitled to. Take note of these five important things to do if you’re involved in a car accident:
1. Remain at the Scene of the Accident
No matter who was at fault, it’s very important that you remain at the scene of the crash if possible. Of course, if you are seriously injured or if it would present a risk to your safety to remain, then leaving the scene is necessary. Barring those reasons, there can be negative consequences for leaving the scene of an accident. If there are no independent witnesses to the accident, then the driver who remains at the scene can’t put the blame for the accident entirely on you if you are not present when the police arrive. Not only can this harm your chances of receiving monetary and other compensation due to you as the victim, but you may also find yourself facing serious criminal charges we’re leaving the scene of an accident, among other things.
By remaining at the scene, you will be able to make notes of specific details, use your cell phone to take pictures, and gather the information that will be helpful to you in court. You will also be able to receive medical care quickly when emergency assistance arrives.
2. Call the Police
No matter how many witnesses or bystanders are calling for help, make sure you personally call the police immediately when a car accident occurs. This will ensure that there is a record of you having done the responsible thing. When you call for help, make it known to the police dispatcher that you are in need of medical attention. They will notify emergency services, who will also come to the scene. Whether you are aware of any injuries you may have received or not, make sure you request medical care. Not only will it protect your case, but you may have serious internal injuries you aren’t aware of yet.
Once the police arrive, make an accident report. Be as detailed as possible, and make it known that you want a copy of the report. The police will talk to any witnesses to get their statements and contact information. If you can do so, speak to the witnesses yourself and ask for their names and contact information. Use your cell phone to video record your conversations with them to preserve their information for your records. Do not do this while they are speaking with the police. Ideally, you should try to do so before the police arrive to avoid confusion and wasting time.
3. Exchange Insurance Information
Exchanging insurance information with all drivers involved in a car accident is imperative to receiving the settlement you deserve for medical expenses, damages to your car, pain and suffering, etc. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying any monetary damages awarded to you by a court.
The information you will need to exchange includes the following:
- Full name and contact information of each driver and all passengers
- Name of insurance agency
- Insurance policy number
- Driver’s license number and license plate number
- Make, model and color of vehicles involved
If the other driver refuses to provide you with their insurance information, make sure you inform the police of this and that they include this in the accident report.
4. Get Medical Attention
As soon as possible following the accident, seek medical attention at a hospital. When paramedics arrive on the scene, allow them to transport you to the hospital. Regardless of whether you have any visible injuries or are experiencing any pain, it’s necessary for you to receive medical treatment right away after a car accident. You will need hospital records and doctor’s reports to present in court for the determination of a settlement amount. Once you are released from the hospital, ask for copies of all doctor’s notes, test results, etc. pertaining to your diagnosis and treatment.
5. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
In order to protect your rights and have any necessary paperwork filed with the court in a timely manner to avoid deadlines, you’ll want to contact a reputable personal injury attorney, such as a Houston car accident lawyer. Your attorney will field any communication attempts by the other party’s insurance company, their attorney, or anyone else involved with the case. The attorney will also gather all evidence and information necessary to prove your claim and file all the proper paperwork to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation you’re entitled to.
Don’t Take Chances Without an Attorney
Without a seasoned personal injury lawyer, you could possibly lose your case and a portion or all monetary compensation including money to cover medical expenses, lost wages, repairs to your automobile, and more. People have lost everything and their lives have been ruined as the result of a car accident that was in no way their fault, all because they did not have proper legal representation. Don’t risk losing the money that you deserve due to someone else’s negligent actions.