Being involved in an auto accident, no matter how minor, can be quite a distressing experience. Right after the accident, your primary concern will likely be getting your damaged vehicle out of the roadway and making sure everyone is alright. Knowing what to do next, however, can mean the difference between winning or losing your case if you later decide to file a lawsuit. Below are some tips on what to do after an auto accident to help you build a solid case if the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to provide you with adequate settlement.
1. Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do after an accident is to check for injuries. The safety of everyone involved in the accident, including any bystanders, is of the utmost importance. Summon an ambulance by calling 911 if anyone was injured in the accident.
2. Call the Police
The next step you should take following an auto accident is to call the police. Even if the accident seems minor, and there appears to be little or no damage to your vehicle, it is essential that you call the police directly after the accident. The police will create an accident report, which is necessary to file an insurance claim. Auto accident reports are also crucial pieces of evidence in personal injury lawsuits.
3. Exchange Personal Information
When you notify your insurance company about the accident, your agent is going to ask for several important pieces of information. Therefore, you should exchange personal contact and insurance information with any other drivers or passengers involved in the accident. This information should include names, phone numbers, and addresses, as well as insurance policy numbers.
4. Document the Scene
Once you’ve checked for injuries, called the police and exchanged information with other people at the scene, you shouldn’t just stand around waiting for police to finish their investigation. Instead, you should use this time to collect as much evidence as possible at the scene. Use your cell phone to take pictures of the damaged vehicles, talk to potential witnesses, and make notes of your impression of the scene, including information regarding obstructed views, damaged road signs and malfunctioning traffic signals or adverse weather conditions.
5. Call an Attorney
Calling an auto accident attorney is often the best way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. An experienced attorney can send an investigator to the scene of the accident in order to ensure your rights are protected and evidence is preserved for later use at trial.
Knowing what to do after an auto accident can go a long way to securing your financial future in the event that the other driver’s insurance company refuses to settle for a fair amount. You don’t want to be left paying for your medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs out of pocket. Follow the above steps after an accident to ensure you have a solid case if it is necessary to later file a personal injury lawsuit.