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If you have been in a car accident, there is a lot happening at the moment and it can be stressful. The most important thing it to keep a steady head in these traumatic times and think thoroughly. Here are are several things you should do after an accident to protect yourself and your legal rights:
1. Check yourself and others for injuries: Your health and safety are the most important thing after an accident. Do a thorough inspection of yourself, your passengers and any other people who may have been involved. Call 911 if there are any injuries and get medical attention as soon as possible. If you’ve experienced a hit to the head, be sure to recheck your symptoms in 2-4 hours to make sure you don’t have a concussion.
2. Call the police: Even if the accident is minor, it’s important to have an official record of the incident. The police report will take down all necessary details and statements from all parties involved to get an accurate record of the event. This will help if there’s any disputes or challenges by the insurance companies. Call the police and wait for them to arrive at the scene.
3. Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the damage to both cars for future record and proof.
4. Notify your insurance company: Contact your insurance company to report the accident and provide them with the necessary information. Often this is where they will ask if a police report was filed which is why Step 2 is an important one.
5. Seek legal advice: If you have been injured or suffered significant property damage, it may be a good idea to speak with a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can walk through the situation with you and help you understand your legal rights. If it’s possible to receive compensation for the injuries or damage, they will ensure that you receive fair compensation for your losses.
You should consider talking to a lawyer if:
You suffered significant injuries: If you were seriously injured in the accident, a lawyer can help you navigate the complex process of filing a personal injury claim.
You’re not sure who is at fault: If there is a dispute about who is responsible for the accident, a lawyer can help you gather evidence and build a strong case.
You’re being pressured by an insurance company: Insurance companies may try to settle your claim for less than it’s worth. An accident lawyer can help you negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that you receive fair compensation.
You’re unsure about the value of your claim: If you’re not sure how much your claim is worth, a lawyer can help you calculate the value of your losses and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
In general, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident, so that they can help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your legal rights. Plus, the attorney will want a detailed account of the incident from your memory and it’s often easier to recall specific details immediately after the event rather than weeks later.
Be sure to research several injury attorneys before signing with one. Some are less helpful than others and might not have your individual best interests at hand. If you’re upfront with each attorney, the good ones will understand that you need time to research and assess and will allow you to do so. Just remember that time is not always your friend in these situations so fast action is still necessary.