It can be difficult to know what to do after a vehicular accident. This helpful checklist will guide you through some of the key steps you should take in order to ensure your safety and protect your rights.
Check for Injuries and Call for Medical Help if Necessary
This is the first and most important thing to do after a vehicular accident. Check yourself for injuries and if you are injured, call for medical help immediately. If you are not injured, check on the other passengers in your vehicle and see if they need medical assistance.
Even if the injuries seem minor or you feel fine, it is always best to err on the side of caution and seek professional medical attention. Once everyone has been seen by a doctor, you can then begin to focus on the other aspects of the accident.
Move to a Safe Location
One of the first things you should do after a vehicular accident is to move your vehicle to a safe location, if possible. This will help to ensure that everyone involved in the accident is out of harm's way and can receive the medical attention they may need. If you can't move your vehicle, turn on your hazard lights. This step is what car accident lawyers working in NYC would advise to those who find themselves in a vehicular accident.
Lawyers from other states with frequent heavy traffic would also concur with this advice. Ensuring your safety is a top priority after a car accident because it will help you recover faster and allow you to think of rational steps to take.
Exchange Insurance Information With the Other Driver(s)
This is one of the most important things you can do after a vehicular accident. By exchanging insurance information, you will be able to file a claim with the other driver's insurance company if necessary.
Additionally, this will help ensure that both parties are covered in case of any damages or injuries sustained during the accident. Be sure to ask for information such as their name, phone number, and the insurance company. You will also want to get the other driver's license plate number. Be sure to write this information down as soon as possible after the accident.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene, if Possible
Documentation of the accident scene is vital in supporting your claim. Depending on your insurance policy, photographic documentation may come in handy, especially if your car loan is not fully paid yet. If you have a camera or a phone with a camera, take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved, skid marks, debris, and any other relevant details of the accident scene. Be sure to get close-up shots as well as wide shots that show the whole accident scene. If there were injuries sustained during the accident, take photos of your injuries as well as the injuries of others who were involved, if possible.
Notify the Police About the Accident
In most states, you are required to file a police report if there is significant damage to either vehicle or if there are any injuries. Be sure to get a copy of the police report for your records. It is crucial to notify the police about any vehicular accident, even if it is a minor fender bender. A police report can be very helpful in substantiating your claim. Even if the police do not come to the accident scene, you can usually file a report at your local police station. The police will create an accident report, which can be useful in filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. Furthermore, the police may ticket the at-fault driver, which can also be used as evidence in a subsequent legal proceeding.
Speak to Witnesses and Get Their Contact Information, if Possible
This is one of the most important things you can do after an accident. If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Be sure to follow up with them later, if ever their testimonies will be needed. Their testimony could be invaluable in determining what happened and who was at fault. This can be helpful in corroborating your version of events if there is any dispute later on.
Contact Your Insurance Company as Soon as Possible to Report the Accident
- If you've been involved in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is contact your insurance company. This is important for a few reasons:
- Your insurance company will be able to provide you with guidance on what to do next and how to proceed with filing a claim.
- Reporting the accident to your insurance company will ensure that your claim is processed in a timely manner.
- In some cases, your insurance company may require that you submit a police report or other documentation before they will begin processing your claim.
- By reporting the accident to your insurance company, you will also be able to get information about any benefits that you may be entitled to, such as personal injury protection or medical payments coverage.
Finally, it's important to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident because there may be time limits on how long you have to file a claim.
If you're not sure who your insurance company is, you can usually find this information on your vehicle registration or insurance card.
You can also contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state for assistance.
Seek Legal Advice if you Have Been Injured or if the Other Driver Was at Fault
Once you have received medical treatment, if you believe that the other driver was at fault for the accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. An experienced attorney will be able to review the facts of your case and advise you on whether or not you have grounds to file a personal injury claim. If you decide to pursue legal action, your lawyer will help you gather evidence and build a strong case in support of your claims. This may include obtaining police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
Once your case is prepared, your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to try to reach a fair settlement. If an agreement cannot be reached, you may need to take your case to court. No matter what course of action you decide to take, it is important to act quickly after an accident. There are deadlines for filing personal injury claims, so it is important to discuss your options with a lawyer as soon as possible.
By following these steps after a vehicular accident, you can help ensure your safety and protect your rights. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to seek legal advice from an experienced attorney.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Olivia Poglianich is a nomadic brand strategist and copywriter in the motorcycling and adventure space who has worked with brands such as Visa, Disney and Grey Goose. Her writing has taken her all over the world, from a Serbian music festival to a Malaysian art and culture event. Olivia is a graduate of Cornell University and is often writing or reading about travel, hospitality, the start-up ecosystem or career coaching. Her latest interests are at the intersection of web3 and communal living, both on and offline.