Car crashes can be traumatizing and scary, but your troubles with them are present even after the accident. That is why you need to know exactly what to do after a car wreck so that you’ll make sure to get your insurance money back. The insurance money is not probably the first thing that pops up in your mind after a car accident, especially when there are injuries. Like in all the types of accidents you need to concentrate and get the right first steps as they define the accordance of what will happen after. Handling the accident matter to a professional car accident lawyer will help you get fair compensation from insurance companies without much trouble. The professionals know how to deal with all legal issues and this will let you take care of your mental and physical health while being sure that you are in safe hands. Because of that, try to calm down at the scene of the accident and read the following steps so you would know what to do and what not to do.
What should you do after getting into a car crash?
React calmly on the scene of the car wreck
Car wrecks should always be avoided, but you must know what to do once they occur. It is very important to keep your head cold in these situations because they can be rather stressful, so a calm set of hands is always good. There are multiple things you need to do right there and then and here they are:
Check for injured people, injuries, and damage. See if anyone needs help and make them your priority. If it’s possible don’t move the vehicles meaning if they aren’t hurting anybody and don’t block the traffic, let them stay until the police arrive.
Contact the police no matter how big the accident is. A legal accident report should be the first step after you’ve successfully stabilized the situation.
Don’t talk too much with the other party cause a dispute might occur. Keep in mind that you both went through a stressful situation and your nerves are much weaker because of that. Talking too much can lead to admitting fault or liability and you don’t want that until you get the police, insurance companies, and lawyers involved. Only talk with the police and medical professionals at the scene.
Document the accident
Even though it may seem hard due to the situation you just overcame, you have to get the facts about the accident straight. This means that you get the names, addresses, phone numbers, and other information of all the people who were involved in the accident. Also make sure to take a good look at the cars and get a full description of them, as well as the license plates. The most important thing is the insurance company information and the vehicle identification number (VIN). The second one is significant because a lot of insurance companies only add the type of the car and the VIN. Here is what you need to do:
- write down what happened
- get the information about the driver (name, address, phone number, email, etc)
- get the information about the drivers’ insurance company (the name and policy number)
- information about the other car (registration, description, model, maker, license plate number)
- take photos with your phone
Fill the car accident information report form correctly
This part is very important for every process after it. With this form, you collect all the information and can be found in the police station or your local DMV. Keep in mind that the form varies from state to state. With this paper, you will give a detailed description of the accident, and the police, your insurance company, and your lawyer will have an easier job determining what happened. Here is what you need to write down about the accident:
- date and time of the accident
- the place where the accident took place (exact address or approximate if you are on the open road)
- your traveling direction
- the traveling direction of the other car
- photos from various angles (you can also make a sketch diagram of the crash)
- details about what exactly happened (it is smart to record yourself with a voice recorder on the phone). Since you are probably going to be shaken up, try to concentrate on this part.
- names and contact information about any possible witnesses
- the information about the police officer on scene (name, badge, contact)
- notes about the driving condition (road, visibility, weather)
Another thing to remember while filling out the accident report is not to argue with the other party, nor discuss fault with them. It is none of their concern to know how you feel. Do not take responsibility even if you do think that it was your fault, and don’t accept the implications either.
Contact your lawyer
It is sometimes tricky to determine who is exactly responsible for a car accident, especially if none of you had a dashcam in the vehicle. That is why you should hand it over to the professionals who know the law better than you handle the situation. Having reliable car accident lawyers is a smart investment because they can help you to prove your innocence and get you closer to the insurance payment. Call them up whenever you feel like the situation requires it.
Contact your insurance company
As soon as you realize that everything is alright and everyone is safe, get in touch with your insurance company and contact the emergency claims right away. It would be better for you to call them from the scene. In those cases give the phone to the police officer who will be able to give more accurate information because he did not go through a stressful situation as you did.
File a car accident claim
Your insurance agent should direct you to the claims department and they will walk you through the process of filing a car accident claim. In modern times, even insurance companies use apps or websites so your job might be even simpler. You might be able to follow the steps online. As it was said before, your job is to collect the facts and not to fight or discuss the details with anyone. Sometimes the other party realizes that they are at fault and ask you not to involve the police and the insurance companies, but you should ignore them because you are legally obligated to report any car crash you get into.
You can contact the state insurance commissioner to tell you what laws are specific for your state. You never know who you are dealing with when it comes to the other party and you don’t know what insurance they have. That is why it is important to keep with the facts, and you’ll be surely paid for your claim.
Always remember that you went through a stressful experience and that the only way to do everything accordingly is to calm down, keep your cool, and state the facts to everyone. Don’t argue with anyone, be sure to keep everyone safe around you, and don’t lie to the police and your insurance company. In the end, when you realize there is no other way, also involve a lawyer who specializes in these crashes because they’ll know what to do better than you. Drive safely.