The moments following an automobile accident can be stressful and confusing. Before the accident, you may have thought you knew exactly what to do afterward. However, when presented with the real life situation it can be more confusing. What should you do and what should you say? Should you call the police or your insurance company? If you are unsure what you should do after an automobile accident in Washington D.C., talk to your attorney who will put you on the right track.
Injuries Are Your Top Priority
The physical well-being of your passengers, yourself, and anyone else involved is a top priority after an accident. You have just gone through a traumatic experience, and the adrenaline rushing through your body may mask any pain or injuries you have. It may be a good idea to take a moment and assess your situation. Check for broken bones, pain, bleeding, and any other injuries. Check your passengers and anyone else involved for any injuries as well. If anyone is seriously injured, call 9-1-1 for help.
Not all injuries are immediately apparent after an accident. Many people report feeling fine after an accident. Only, later on, do they notice neck pain, back pain, tingling in the extremities, headaches, or other injuries. It may be better to seek out medical treatment if you are at all unsure whether you may have been injured. Treating an injury early on can help reduce the likelihood of permanent injury.
At the Scene of the Accident
You should never flee the scene of an accident. Some drivers panic after an accident, and try and drive off, even if they've done nothing wrong. Other drivers may fear criminal penalties for driving under the influence, uninsured driving or driving without a license. However, fleeing the scene of an accident will generally only make the problem worse. A hit and run carries criminal charges and can result in jail time on top of any other criminal offenses.
After the accident, it is important to make sure you are no longer in any physical danger, including getting away from a burning vehicle and making sure you will not get hit by speeding traffic. If the damage is minor, and you can move your vehicle out of traffic, this can help you to avoid any subsequent crashes.
Should You Call the Police After an Accident?
Not all accidents may require calling the police. If you are ever unsure whether you should call the police, it is best to err on the side of caution and make the phone call. However, there are certain incidents that may require you to contact the Metro Police. This includes a driver without insurance, a driver who will not provide their insurance or driver's license information, a suspected drunk driver, an accident involving serious bodily injury or death, and a driver who tries to flee the scene.
When the police arrive, they will generally document the accident in a police report. This report may help you when filing an insurance claim, or when filing a legal claim in court. The police report will also generally contain information about the parties involved and any witnesses on the scene.
Some drivers may try and convince you not to call the police. Instead, they may offer to pay for the damages out of pocket. However, making the accident official may help to protect you down the road. Some drivers may later try and claim that you were the cause of the accident, and try and make you pay for their injuries and damages.
Contacting the Insurance Company
After the accident, you may be required to report the accident to your insurance company. The insurance agent will generally take your side of the story, collect all information available, and begin your insurance claim. You may be in contact with your insurance company about your damaged vehicle, and any physical injuries involved. If all goes according to plan, your insurance company may pay your claim, and you can get back to normal. However, some insurance companies are not so willing to pay their fair share.
If your insurance company denies your claims, says that they will not pay for your damages, or makes you feel like you did something wrong, it may be time to call an attorney. Your attorney will be able to deal with the insurance companies so you don't have to.
Washington D.C. 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.