Most people never really think about what they need to do after an automobile accident until it actually happens. We have a vague idea that we should check ourselves, our passengers, and the other driver for injuries, exchange insurance information, and report the accident. However, in a real-life accident, things may get much more complicated.
What to do After an Auto Accident
The first and most important thing you should do after an automobile accident is to make sure you and your passengers don't have any serious injuries. If you feel back or neck pain, tingling in your extremities, or feel like you may have lost consciousness, the best thing for you to do may be to stay put and wait for emergency medical services. If you are able to, you should call 9-1-1.
You may feel relatively fine, but before you waive off any concerns about possible injuries, it is important to understand that many car accident injuries are not immediately obvious. Spine, head, neck and back injuries are often difficult to determine immediately after a traumatic event. Moving around after an accident may exacerbate sensitive injuries. Even if you don't seek immediate help, you should seriously consider getting a medical evaluation as soon as possible.
After you determine that you and your passengers are uninjured, do not drive away! Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a hit and run accident. A driver who drives away after an accident can face criminal charges. If another person was injured or killed in the accident, the fleeing driver can even face felony criminal charges.
If you feel like you are uninjured, then you may want to check on any other people involved, and call for help if necessary. If all drivers and passers appear okay, you may want to call the police. The police will be able to do an investigation of the accident scene, and provide you with the information to get a police report. The police report may be helpful when it comes to filing your insurance claim. If you don't have a police report, then you may only have your word against the other driver.
You should then exchange certain information after an accident, including name, driver's license information, phone number, and insurance information. You should be careful about anything else you sat at the accident. If you are sorry that the accident occurred, your apology may be taken by the other party to be an admission of causing the accident.
The police officer at the scene will usually gather much of the necessary information for you to file your insurance claim. However, you may also want to gather any additional information at the scene of the accident that could be used to support your case. This includes getting contact information for any witnesses, taking photos and video with your mobile phone of the accident scene, and the damage to the vehicles.
After the Accident
The next steps may include driving to a car repair shop, if your car is in a drivable condition, or having it towed away. You will then need to contact your insurance company. Your insurance policy may require that you immediately notify your insurance company after an accident. You should answer their questions about the accident, and give a truthful representation of what occurred.
For the next days or weeks, you may have to deal with the hassles of a car accident including getting estimates for car repairs, finding a ride or renting a car, and talking to your insurance company. You may also realize that your neck or back is beginning to ache, or your fingers or toes are tingling. This may be a sign of a more serious injury, and you should seek medical help. It is important for you to seek medical attention as soon as possible to give you the best chance for recovery, and to make sure your insurance claim isn't settled before you realize you have an injury due to the accident.
Be cautious about what you do and say after a car accident. The other driver's insurance company or another lawyer may try to contact you to talk about the accident. While they may seem like they are just asking simple questions, they may be trying to get you to say something that they can later use against you to deny your claim. They may even be looking at your social media posts, to see if you appear more physically active than your claimed injuries suggest.
If you have an attorney, you can just tell the insurance company to talk to your lawyer. If you don't have an attorney, you should consider talking to a vehicle accident attorney about your case. They may offer a free consultation and take your case with no upfront costs to you. An attorney will be able to deal with the insurance companies, and make sure you get a fair settlement offer. If the other driver or the insurance company refuses to fully compensate you for your injuries, they will take your case to court.
Maryland Personal Injury Attorneys
At Gilman and Bedigian, our clients get individualized attention from our entire team. We believe in taking the time to thoroughly discuss any and every matter which may be important to you and your case. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a motor vehicle accident, let us work for you to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our experienced team today for a free consultation.