Last Updated on September 19, 2022 by John Robinson
Car accidents are sadly an extremely common occurrence. In the US alone, there are around 12,000 people injured on the roads every single day – a truly staggering number. Unfortunately, no matter how careful a diver you may be, you can still end up becoming part of these statistics due to someone else’s negligence.
The sad fact is, accidents do happen, and you may find yourself caught up in one. But, what should you do after such an event occurs? It can be very easy to panic and make mistakes, but there is no need to. Read on for all the useful tips on how to properly deal with a car accident.
How To Properly Deal With A Car Accident: Tips
1. Seek Legal Representation
Assuming you have already had an accident, and you are now at home doing your research, stop where you are and seek out a lawyer. A lawyer or legal team will be able to help you build your case and figure out your next move. Turn to Google and search for the ones that are available in your area. Take a look at the list and work through some of the options. According to top auto accident attorneys in Orange County, the best thing about seeking various options when it comes to legal representation is that most great lawyers will speak to you for free. You can have a meeting, discuss your case, and find out how they work, all without paying a cent. This means you can check on who you think will work best with you and do the best for your case.
Your legal team will work with you through some of the steps below. Unfortunately, as your accident was in the past, some of these may no longer be relevant. However, they are worth reading for general info and in case you happen to find yourself in another similar situation.
2. Never Leave the Scene
One of the most important pieces of advice at the very offset is to never leave the scene of an accident. Whether it was your fault or someone else’s, leaving the scene implies and admits a level of guilt – even if you don’t think it does. Leaving the scene of an incident is viewed as a crime in many states. So, sit tight, and follow the next steps, rather than running away from the scene in fear or panic.
3. Call the Cops
The next thing to do is to call the cops. You may not think it’s important, but it is essential that any accidents are reported to the police. If you don’t report an incident, you can end up losing out on insurance and many other legal protections.
The police will almost certainly need to attend the scene, even if for just a short while. Police statements, photographs, and incident reports can be absolutely key when reporting your accident to insurers or the courts.
4. Take Pictures and Videos
Although the police will take their own evidence from the scene, it is always advisable to take some for yourself. Most of you will have mobile phones or cameras on hand at all times. So, grab it and start snapping pictures and videos. These firsthand accounts can help build a really substantial case with your legal team further down the line, so take as many as possible. A word of warning, though: don’t share these with anyone other than your legal team, as this could affect the credibility of the evidence.
5. Exchange Information
Assuming both yourself and the other involved parties are OK – it’s time to swap information. You’ll need names, addresses, registration plate information, and any other key identifiers such as phone numbers. This information will make it far easier for you, your legal team, or your insurer to seek appropriate compensation further down the line. Failure to exchange information can lead to a long, arduous process, trying to use CCTV, the police, or your lawyers to help you find the persons involved in your accident.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Of course, one of the most vital parts of an accident is to make sure you are looked after properly. If your accident is a major one, it is quite likely that the fire service or paramedics will be called to the scene. Make sure you are seen by them and treated for any injuries you may have right away.
Even if your accident seems minor, you should always get yourself checked out. Get down to the Emergency Room or your doctor’s surgery. Your medical treatment and reports can – once again – form a huge part of any legal evidence. If you are worried about paying your medical bills, do not fear. Your legal team will help make sure it is all repaid via your insurance or the other driver’s insurance.
7. Address Next Steps With Your Lawyers
Your legal team will help you collate all this evidence, building you the most solid base of evidence possible to take the next steps. Once everything is together, they will move to the next stage of the process – either seeking an insurance payout or suing the other driver. Potentially both. They will advise you on what they think is the best choice.
8. Insurance and Legal Proceedings
In many cases, it is as simple as your legal team providing all the collected evidence to your insurer. Insurers will try and pay out as little as possible, but your legal team will help make sure you are paid for medical bills, loss of earnings, and any other costs incurred by your accident. This may include paying for repairs to your vehicle or special payouts about your mental health or physical abilities post-accident.
If your insurer – or the third party insurer – refuses to payout, or the other driver refuses to accept fault, you may have to take the case to court. This would be the last course of action and would only be advised by your legal team if you were not likely to be compensated otherwise. They would take care of everything on your behalf, once again trying to earn you the maximum settlement possible.
If you follow these steps post-car accident, you will be just fine. All you can hope is that your injuries are not severe, and you can get back on your feet quickly. All with the help o9f your expert car accident attorneys.