Day 2: First Steps to Take After an Auto Accident: Staying Safe and Protecting Your Rights

Being involved in an auto accident can be a frightening and disorienting experience. However, understanding the initial steps to take following an accident can help ensure your safety and protect your rights. Here, we’ve outlined a basic guide on what to do immediately after an auto accident.

Ensure Safety First

Your immediate concern following an auto accident should be the safety of everyone involved. If possible, and it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic to a safe location nearby.

If your car is not drivable, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Next, check yourself and others for injuries. Even if injuries seem minor, seeking medical attention immediately is essential, as some injuries may not be apparent immediately.

Call the Authorities

It’s crucial to report the accident to law enforcement, regardless of its severity. Police will come to the accident scene, assess the situation, and create an official accident report. This document can be a valuable piece of evidence should you need to file a claim with your insurance company or a lawsuit against the other driver.

Exchange Information

Exchange the following information with all involved parties:

  • Full name and contact information
  • Insurance company and policy number
  • Driver’s license and license plate number
  • Type, color, and model of the vehicle
  • Location of the accident

Avoid discussing the accident or apologizing, as it could be interpreted as an admission of fault.

Document the Accident

Take photographs of all vehicles involved from different angles, showing the damage done. Include pictures of any skid marks or debris on the road. Also, photograph your injuries if there are visible signs of harm.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Cooperate with them and explain the facts clearly. However, consider obtaining legal advice before giving recorded statements or accepting any settlements. Your insurance company can fix your vehicle and then go after the liable insurance for your deductible. Alternatively, you can go straight to contacting the liable insurance company to make the claim while informing your insurance company. The claim for vehicle damage will be a separate claim from personal injury, which can be brought later.

Keep a Record

Start a file to keep all accident-related documents and notes. Include the claim number, the claim’s adjuster handling the case, the names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipts for a rental car, and other expenses incurred due to the accident.

Consult with a Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured in the accident, it might be beneficial to consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Conclusion

Remember, the aftermath of an auto accident can be a stressful and confusing time. But by keeping these steps in mind, you can ensure you take the right actions to protect both your health and your rights. Tomorrow, we’ll delve into understanding and dealing with auto insurance claims after an accident. Stay tuned!