Your car has been in an accident. What do you do now? What steps should you take to ensure your safety and the safety of others around you? What are the first things that need to be taken care of for this process to go smoothly? These are all great questions, but it is important not to panic. Take a deep breath, assess what happened, and then use these tips below to guide you through the aftermath of your auto accident.
Accident Aftermath: Next Steps
- First, ensure your safety and the safety of others around you. Your safety should always be a top priority after any collision, so make sure you do everything possible to protect yourself from further injury or harm before moving on to anything else. Stay calm. Gather names and phone numbers of other drivers involved in the accident and take note of registration numbers.
- Contact an emergency response team. Call 911 if there have been any injuries or fatalities in your car accident. Also call the police department to immediately file a report with them about the incident. Insurance companies will need a copy of the police report as part of your insurance claim.
- Exchange information. Exchanging contact and insurance information with the driver is a vital step in the post-accident process. Make sure you ask for:
- Full name and contact information.
- Insurance company name and policy number.
- Driver’s license number and license plate number.
- Type, color, and vehicle model.
- Location and time of accident.
- Names of eyewitnesses and contact information.
- Police officer’s names and badge numbers.
- Make a list of all accident-related damages. Document all damaged property and belongings including anything that was inside the cars that was damaged during the collision.
- Get the details of the accident straight. If you are unsure what caused the accident it is important to gather as much information as you can. Witnesses can add to your statement about what they saw happen that triggered the accident and what came after. Get full documentation from the other drivers involved in the collision so that you have on record what they were doing before, during, and after the accident.
- Call your insurance company. Anytime you are involved in an accident it is important to call your insurance company and give them a detailed description of what happened. If you are seeking medical attention for injuries, let them know so they can promptly send an adjuster to protect your interests.
- Do what you can to preserve evidence. To establish liability and to ensure your rights are protected it is important to take pictures with your phone (or camera) to preserve all the details. Take pictures of damages to any vehicles or property involved in the accident (before any repairs are attempted). Take pictures of broken car parts, torn clothing, injuries, and anything that you could use as evidence supporting the facts of the accident.
- Inquire about liability insurance coverage the drivers have. In the case of a driver having underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) talk to the drivers’ insurance companies to protect you if the other person involved has insufficient funds or coverage to pay for damages.
- Contact an attorney. The statute of limitations for a car accident is about one year from when the accident occurred. Calling a personal injury attorney in Atlanta, Georgia, as soon as you can will help you learn what steps and actions you need to take to protect your rights and to get proper compensation.
- Call your employer. If your accident is going to necessitate time off work and lost wages, speak to your employer to preserve your job and benefits. Let your insurance company know if you will be missing work because they can help with lost wages if the claim is filed within 24 hours of the accident.
- Get a copy of all the accident reports. This will help you protect your rights so that proper accountability and liability occurs.
Things to Avoid After an Auto Accident
In the blur of the accident aftermath, it can be hard to focus on what one is doing or saying. To help you through this potential situation, avoid doing the following:
- Don’t admit blame. Often when we are involved in an accident, we can feel apologetic and start taking unnecessary blame for what has occurred. Don’t do this. Don’t admit fault (or reveal insurance policy limits). Most often, both parties carry blame in an accident. By admitting fault, you could be setting yourself up for unjust expenses and dues.
- Do not sign any documents. The only documents you should be signing are those the police may need or that your insurance agent may request.
- Don’t take money that is offered. In some situations, the at-fault driver will offer you money on the spot to resolve the issue quickly. Don’t accept this. Call the police, file the report, and execute the steps listed above. In most scenarios, an accident will end up costing much, much more than what an at-fault driver may be offering you.
- Don’t leave the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law and can get you into big trouble.
- Don’t delay filing your claim. Report your claim as soon as you can. Accidents require an investigation by your insurance company before they will approve your claim and release the funds you require. Filing a claim earlier also helps preserve the facts before things are forgotten. Your insurance company can also help you arrange for a car rental and a post-accident vehicle inspection.
- Don’t assume you aren’t injured just because you feel OK right then. Whiplash and other accident symptoms can be delayed but cause long-lasting issues. Therefore, it is important to document everything that happened, to file a claim with your insurance, and to go to the hospital to file a medical report.
Get Professional Assistance to Help You Establish Proper Liability in Your Auto Accident
If you have been injured in an auto accident you may require the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta, Georgia. Taps & Associates is here to offer you our expertise and assistance at. Reach out to us when you’re ready to make your claim for just compensation after an accident at 404-492-8746. We’ll thoroughly review your case and provide you with the knowledge you need to make the best decision possible. We give each of our clients the personal attention and care they deserve. You don’t pay unless we win your case.