Getting into a car accident is no small matter. Your problems and grief are compounded if someone was seriously hurt or killed. Regardless of the extent of the casualties, there are some things you must do immediately following a car accident.
1. Pull off the road.
If possible, pull off the road and as far off the shoulder as you can. Moving a car may not be possible due to damage and personal injuries. If the vehicles cannot be moved, ensure that oncoming traffic sees you. This may include asking other motorists to pull up, drop flares, turn on emergency signals, and stay with you until help arrives.
2. Check the condition of each passenger.
If the injuries are minor, then the urgency for medical help is not so great. Even so, you need to verify the condition of the people in your car as well as in the other cars. If you know first aid, then begin to apply it. Ask someone else to call for emergency assistance. The greater the injuries, then the more that time is of the essence. Ask for help from others who arrive at the scene. A medical practitioner can perform first aid and stabilize the injured.
3. Await the police.
Unless your accident is minor and is composed only of a fender bender, you’ll need to have the police on hand to file a report. That report should be available a few days after the accident, therefore obtain a copy to forward to your insurance company as quickly as possible. If you handle the accident without the police being present, then exchange all pertinent information, including driver’s licenses, registration, insurance information, and contact numbers. Write this information down, but if you don’t have a pen handy, taking pictures of the documents with your smartphone is another option. When talking with the police, never admit guilt. Simply explain your story and allow them to draw the conclusions.
4. Contact your insurance company.
Once all people have been stabilized and your report taken, contact your insurance company. If your car is not movable, you’ll need to call for a towing service too. Your insurer or your auto club should be able to send a wrecker. When talking to your insurance company, provide as much information about the accident as required. Your insurer will send out a claims adjuster to look at the car and make a declaration based on the damage. If there are personal injuries, you’ll be submitting those bills too. If you are not certain about how the process works, your insurance representative is there to help you. Ask questions and listen carefully for the answers.
5. Follow up.
Your work isn’t done even if after you receive a check from your insurance company. If the car is repairable, then you’ll need to take it to a collision repair shop to have it worked on. If possible, get at least three estimates. Compare the rates, check references, and go with the company with the best reputation. Certainly, price matters, but you need to get the job done correctly. If your car has been totaled, then you will need to shop for a new car. In the interim, your insurance company may have a rental car to keep you behind the wheel until you’re able to repair or replace your current model.
After Crash Considerations
When you have a car accident, you want to be made whole. Your insurer will help rectify the problem and will go after the other insurance company, if necessary. If the settlement amount does not suit you, then file an appeal with your insurer. In some cases, you may have to retain an attorney to ensure that your rights and financial position are protected.
Lastly, If you’re battling with personal injuries or someone you love has been hurt, then make sure you’re getting all the help required too. This is where a personal accident attorney may be able to intervene, to ensure that your disability claims and ongoing medical needs, as well as your financial losses, are addressed.