Being involved in a car accident often places people in state of shock. With adrenaline rushing through your body, it can be difficult to make calm and rational decisions. What you do immediately after these events have occurred, however, can have a serious impact on their outcome. Following are some of the most important steps to take for ensuring human safety and your long-term, financial well-being.
Make sure that everyone in your car is okay. Be sure to put your car in park and turn the ignition off. Minor details like these are often overlooked as the result of shock and panic, however, they are necessary for ensuring that no additional damage is done to vehicles and no further injuries are sustained.
Check on the passengers in the other car and make sure that they are in an acceptable condition as well. If emergency response services are required, contact these professionals immediately. If you are not trained in the administration of first aid, see if any passersby are willing to help.
It is important for each driver to share his or her auto insurance information. Make sure to copy down all of the relevant details before allowing anyone to exit the scene. This is true even if the accident is relatively minor and no significant physical injuries have been sustained. When discussing the accident, neither driver should admit full or partial fault. This can later be determined via individual statements, witness statements and other collected evidence.
When possible, take the time to collect the names and contact information of any direct witnesses. Their statements could prove essential in support any personal injury claim that you file. In fact, you may want to write down their statements immediately after the incident while their memories of this event is still fresh. Having them sign and date their initial statements immediately after having collected these will increase their validity and bring more weight to your case.
An official accident report should be filed by an attending officers. This should be submitted to all of the appropriate parties and copies should be retained for attachment to your claim. This way, all facts concerning this event are duly recorded and unlikely to be contested.
Take a trip to the emergency room, even if you aren’t bleeding or showing the signs of broken bones. High-impact events can cause injuries that may take days or even weeks to make themselves apart. Whiplash and other forms of joint dysfunction are incredibly common among auto accident victims. Having doctor review and document your injuries is yet another vital part of building your claim.