Accidents happen in the most unexpected time and place. These unforeseen events usually cause devastating injuries, harm, and risks to the victims. One of the most common types of accidents is road traffic accidents or car collisions. There are several causes of car accidents, such as distracted driving (texting while driving), driving under the influence of alcohol (or dangerous drugs), overspeeding, reckless driving, defective vehicles, and adverse weather conditions. Car accident victims may suffer from serious injuries including spinal or traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, fracture, paralysis, or even wrongful death. However, with appropriate safety precautions, obedience to traffic laws, and attentiveness, accidents can be prevented.
This article will give you an overview of how to prepare yourself to efficiently handle the stressful aftermath of a car accident. A credible Wheeling personal injury attorney can guide you through the legal procedures to be done after being involved in a car accident. Here’s what you can do:
- Stay Calm and Don’t Leave the Scene
- Check for Car Accident Injuries
- Call a Law Enforcement Officer
- Move Your Vehicle
- Exchange Insurance and Personal Information
- Gather Potential Evidence
- Be Careful With Your Statements
- Write Out the Details of the Accident
- Notify and Cooperate With Your Car Insurance Company
Stay Calm and Don’t Leave the Scene
This is the first thing that you need to do if you are involved in a car accident. Remain calm and don’t panic to make it easier to deal with the auto accident. Leaving the car accident scene without the permission of a police or law enforcement officer may risk your chances of being accused with a hit-and-run charge.
Check for Car Accident Injuries
Check yourself and other passengers in your vehicle for visible injuries. Avoid giving first-aid treatment that goes beyond your training. Call 911 immediately after the accident and seek medical treatment. If you’re seriously injured, try not to move until help can get to you.
Call a Law Enforcement Officer
Both minor and serious car accidents must be reported to the police. It is advisable to call the police to respond to the accident scene. The law enforcement officers can create a report of the vehicle accident which you can request a copy of for insurance purposes.
Move Your Vehicle
If the vehicles involved in the accident are still operational, you need to move your car over to the shoulder to clear the roadway. If a car accident happens at night, turn on your hazard lights to give a signal to other cars. If you can’t move your vehicle, then get yourself and anyone else involved in the accident to a safer place away from the road.
Exchange Insurance and Personal Information
This is one of the most important steps to take after a car accident. Having as much evidence as possible will help increase the strength of your claim. It is important to take the contact information of all the persons involved in the accident most especially the other drivers and potential witnesses. Generally, you need to obtain the following information:
- Name and insurance information of the other driver
- The other driver’s contact number
- The contact information of witnesses
- Photos of any damage
- The police report from the responding officer
- Police officer’s name and contact details
- Personal notes on what happened during the incident
Gather Potential Evidence
In addition to the personal information that you’ve gathered from the victims and witnesses involved in the accident, it is also important to gather evidence related to the vehicles involved in the car accident. You need to take note of the model, license plate number, and a general description of the car. It is advisable to take photos of the vehicle damage to be used as possible evidence. You may also check for any nearby security cameras and request a copy of the footage if required.
Be Careful With Your Statements
When exchanging information with the other driver, avoid making statements that could be assumed as an admission of guilt on your part. You should also avoid finger-pointing at the other driver or accusing them of causing the accident. Do not make any promises especially when the police or insurance companies are involved.
Write Out the Details of the Accident
Try your best to remember every detail of what happened to the car accident and put it into writing. This includes the following information:
- Accurate date, time, and location of the accident
- What the other car was doing at the time of the accident
- The direction you were driving
- Where you are and what you were doing at the moment of impact
Notify and Cooperate With Your Car Insurance Company
Car insurance is designed to protect you financially if you’re involved in an accident. Regardless of who is the person at fault, it’s crucial to notify your car insurance company as soon as the accident occurred. Failure to notify your insurance provider immediately could affect your claim and coverage. However, keep in mind that reporting the car accident to your insurance carrier doesn’t require you to file an insurance claim. A reliable Wheeling personal injury attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of filing a car accident claim to ensure that your compensation covers any accident-related losses (car repairs, lost wages, and medical expenses).
Your cooperation is required during the investigation of the auto insurance company. You need to provide sufficient evidence and accurate details of what happened during the vehicular accident. Your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case, and that person will assess any damages or injuries to determine how much the insurer will pay to cover the claim. Your insurance coverage will depend on:
- The driver at fault
- The extent of the damage to each driver’s vehicle
- The type of injuries incurred by the victims
- The type and amount of insurance policy coverage you have
- The type and amount of insurance policy covers the other driver has
For insured drivers, the insurance policies that they have can generally cover medical bills and damages caused by the accident. On the contrary, uninsured drivers will be forced to pay all expenses and damages “out of pocket”.
The Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic and stressful. To ease the pain and suffering, it is advisable to seek legal assistance from our experienced Wheeling personal injury attorney from Ghaphery Law Offices, PLLC. Our personal injury law firm will guide you to pursue a personal injury claim, have a proper insurance settlement, and fight for your legal rights.