10 CRITICAL STEPS TO TAKE FOLLOWING AN AUTO ACCIDENT IF YOU WANT TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SETTLEMENT
Updated: Apr 27
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT OR CAR CRASH?
Getting into a car accident is an unsettling experience, but there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. Our experience accident attorneys here at RC Legal Group can certainly help alleviate the stress. Here are 10 tips to help you remember what to do if you are involved in a car accident.
1. STOP. Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one.
2. Check for Driver and Passenger Injuries. If you are unharmed, make sure everyone else involved in the accident is not seriously hurt. Provide assistance where needed and call 911 if necessary. Do not move people with injuries unless they are in imminent danger.
3. Be Cautious in What You Say. Avoid talking to those involved in the accident. Never admit fault or offer an apology since it may be used against you in the future. It is best to only discuss the details of the accident with a law enforcement official.
4. Make An Accurate Record. When the police arrive make sure you tell the investigating officer exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess, or misstate any of the facts.
* When asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure rather than no. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the collision.
5. Exchange Insurance and Contact Information. Typically, the investigating officer will obtain this information. The officer will usually provide all drivers with a police report number. You can use that number later to obtain the policer report. However, if police do not respond to the accident, you should obtain the name, address, and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident—drivers and passengers alike. You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident.
*If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well so you or your attorney can contact them in the future.
6. Take Pictures. Pictures can be used as hard evidence, which is very difficult to refute. Take pictures of the damaged vehicles, surrounding areas, and other important elements that affected the accident. If you have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well.
7. Seek Medical Attention. Many people will feel fine after an accident due to shock and adrenaline masking injury symptoms. The effects and pain of an automobile accident are usually felt a day or two following the incident. Additionally, a doctor's visit will serve to document the fact that you were injured and can be used as medical evidence.
8. Inform Your Insurance Company. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. This can be done after you return home from the accident scene, or even the next day. Some policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. Consider hiring an attorney to help maximize your claim and recover your lost wages and medical expenses.
9. Keep a File. Keep all accident-related documents and information together. This includes claim numbers, the adjuster handling the claim, names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts, and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident.
10. Protect Your Rights. Perhaps the most important thing you should do after accident is to consult your attorney. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney will act in your best interest and advise you on issues to make sure that you get compensated fairly for your car and your bodily injury claim. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries.
And, as previously mentioned in one of our previous posts, "Can social media costs you thousands of dollars in your personal injury case? Find out how: ... ," It is Imperative that you keep all social media profiles private during the time period for which your claim is processing with insurance. If insurance believes your case is worth a lot of money, they will be watching you like a hawk. They will try to find any reason to deny your claim. Do not post pictures on social media that could indicate to insurance adjusters that you are not hurt. It is a matter of THOUSANDS of dollars. Think before you post on social media!
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