After an accident, it is normal to feel unsure of what to do. You've just been in an accident and you can feel a little bit (or a lot) of shock and forget the most important things to do first. Hours even days after the accident, you still may be asking yourself, "What now?"
You can take many different steps depending on your situation. If you were at-fault, if they were at-fault, if there were serious injuries or damages all factor into the big question, "what do I do now?"
What to do first
After an accident, if possible, pull over to a safe location and make sure everyone in the vehicle is okay. This may seem obvious, but making sure that everyone is safe and not injured should be your first priority. If anyone involved in the accident is injured, make sure you call 9-1-1.
After that make sure you do the following:
- Don't admit fault, this includes apologizing
- Stay at the scene. Take pictures, exchange license information, etc.
- Look for eyewitnesses
- Call your insurance company
When at the scene it is important to obtain as much information possible. Even if the accident wasn't your fault, apologizing can sometimes be seen as you admitting fault. If there have been severe damages, it could be beneficial to contact a personal injury lawyer. You can call them at the scene and they can walk you through key steps to make sure you have all the information you need.
What to do later
Later on, after the accident is where more challenging issues can arise. Injury, loss, medical bills and vehicle damages are things that can take a long time to resolve. Dealing with the aftermath is one of the toughest parts.
Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with and may offer you a check to pay for injuries upfront. However, you need to consider the long-term effects and medical assistance you may need because of the accident. You should also keep a detailed record of your medical treatments and medical bills that relate to the accident.
If an unfamiliar person or insurance company contacts you, politely tell them to speak with your lawyer. You should also document the call and inform your insurance company and your lawyer. You should only discuss matters relating to the accident with your lawyer or insurance company.
If you feel your injuries were caused by a negligent driver, road or car defects, seeking legal counsel is a wise option. An attorney who is experienced in dealing with car accidents and personal injury can be highly beneficial in helping you recover compensation for injuries or lost wages.
A lawyer will put together evidence and work with other professionals to help build a case against the negligent driver. They can also help with difficult insurance companies that are not cooperating or giving you fair medical compensation. There is a lot to deal with after a serious accident. Hiring an attorney can help you manage everything and lift the burden off of your shoulders.