According to Driver Knowledge, there are over six million people involved in a car accident in the United States each year. Half of them involve injuries and 72% result in property damage. Of course, both factors can be extremely costly to deal with. Medical bills and vehicle repairs, not to mention missed work, are burdens few can bear alone.
Taking action against the negligent party is usually the only way to ensure that you receive sufficient compensation for your losses. The following 7 steps will help you make it happen.
1. Check for Injuries
It’s normal to feel shocked and disoriented after an accident. Your top priority is to focus and move to safety. If you smell leaking gas or notice another fire hazard, stay away from the source. Check for any injuries and make use of first aid kits if possible. Adrenaline can numb you to pain, so it’s best to call an ambulance for professional assistance.
2. Contact the Police
Call the authorities and notify them of the collision. This is legally required in most states. The police will conduct an accident report and collect details that may be instrumental to your case. Try to obtain the investigating officer’s name and badge number. You should also get the report number to make it easier to obtain a copy later on.
While you’re waiting for police to arrive, avoid small talk, and minimize your contact with other drivers. The less you say, the better, as you don’t want to admit guilt.
3. Exchange Information
That said, there are some details that you need to obtain. This includes the other party’s:
- Name and phone number
- License number and plate number
- Insurance information
4. Document the Accident
From here, take a look around and collect the following information:
- Date and time
- Location of the accident
- The street name and nearest intersection
- The direction of travel
- Driving conditions
If you have any dashcam footage of being involved in a car accident, make sure that it’s permanently saved. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the scene depicting where the collision occurred and what injuries were sustained.
5. Notify Your Insurer
Even if you weren’t at fault, you should contact your insurance company and let them know that you were in an accident. This is particularly important if the other driver is not insured. Remember to say as little as possible if the other driver’s insurer contacts you and avoid providing a statement.
6. Hire an Attorney
You’ll need to get help from a car accident lawyer to maximize your recovery and provide a stronger defense if you were at fault. They will assist with the necessary guidance and work to disprove or reduce any claims of your responsibility for the incident.
7. Track Your Medical Treatment
Take notes of any doctors or other medical professionals involved in your recovery. Don’t forget to document the medication and treatment you receive, as well as medical reports and bills.
Moving forward, it’s wise to keep a record of how your injuries impacted daily life, such as taking time off from work. Any other concerns will likely be addressed by an attorney, so just make sure to cover the aforementioned steps.