Accidents are unplanned events, and it happens to the most careful drivers. It’s an unfortunate incident, and once it happens, you might be shocked, dizzy, or angry at the other party. Most drivers are unable to reason logically after the accident; however, it would help to have a clear mind and reserve judgment, since this will be among the first steps to assist in preparing a legal claim. The following are tips that you should follow when you are involved in an accident.
1. Inspect Everyone for Injuries
Don’t drive off from the accident scene, but instead, stop and inspect whether anyone has been injured. If anyone has been hurt, call 911 and contact the police and ambulance service providers. Some injuries might not reveal immediately, although most casualties, later on, report feeling pain. For this reason, consider seeking medical attention even in minor accidents. You might have suffered from a spinal injury or a head injury that might be hard to determine; visit a nearby hospital for inspection since it might lead to behavioral or cognitive changes once you leave it unattended. This is a very big reason why everyone should know the basics of first aid, you never know when you could save somebody’s life.
2. Protect the Accident Scene
Keep your flashers on or even set up flares to notify oncoming vehicles and help avoid further accidents. Set up a perimeter around the accident that prevents intruders. You wouldn’t want anyone to vandalize your car or tamper with evidence. Regarding major accidents, it will make things just harder and expensive. To the point of requiring experts in biomechanics and forensic engineering to come up with precise clues of what might have happened.
3. Protect your Rights
After the accident, you are probably traumatized, and you need a trusted person to help shield your rights. Contact your attorney, who will help you resolve the matter. If you decide to take legal action and bring those who caused the accident to account, or you need to get compensation for injury and damage, you must contact a lawyer to guide you through the process. Legal experts at https://www.blumenshinelawgroup.com/chicago-car-accident-attorneys/ would advise you to take the necessary legal steps such that you spend less time fighting with insurance companies for compensation. Besides, a good lawyer will guide you on the steps needed to take when you are involved in a severe car accident to ensure that you get full compensation for your damages.
4. Contact the Police
The accident might be minor, but it’s always essential to contact the police immediately after the incident. When filing a claim with your insurance company, you will need a police report. Avoid quick settlement schemes, and don’t move your car unless it interferes with traffic.
5. Never Admit Fault
Never lay blame on anyone or admit to the fault for the accident. In case other drivers confront you, do not debate over what happened or try to figure out the wrong party. By discussing information with the affected parties, you could distort the memory that you had about the accident; therefore, you would be unable to distinguish the occurrence from the discussion that you had. Hold a conversation with your attorney and the police. Both parties will use the gathered evidence from all parties to arrive at conclusions about the accident’s cause.
6. Contact your Insurance Company
Once you have notified your attorney, you can proceed and call your insurance agency. Some insurance policies require that you immediately report the incident and that you fully cooperate with the agents. Enquire whether your insurance policy has provisions for medical benefits that you can use to cover hospital expenses. Cooperate with the insurance agents, and if you are exhausted, leave all the responsibility to your attorney as you seek medical assistance.
7. Obtain a Property Damage Evaluation
Always ensure that you get the insurance company damage evaluation and, in the case where you are not satisfied with the valuation done by the insurer, never give up. Obtain independent replacement quotations and inform the insurer about your concerns. If you fail to agree on the damage valuation, consult your lawyer, or try mediation.
8. Take Note of Fine Details
Take pictures of the damage made on the vehicle immediately after the incident. The images will help the insurance company determine if you should be compensated for injury or loss, and it could also help you in court. The pictures taken after the accident can help compare and contrast the car’s status and reveal the damage extent of your vehicle. Besides, write down the circumstances surrounding the accident such as traffic, weather conditions, how other drivers conducted themselves, the possibility of potholes, and the exact time the accident occurred. Such information will be necessary for investigation and might be helpful when determining the compensation.
9. Beware of Early Settlement Officers
You might be offered an early settlement by an insurance company, or in some cases, the person who caused the accident might coerce you to accept payment for damages. Don’t be quick to accept such payment since you need to ensure that all physical injuries are compensated. Some injuries fail to reveal themselves until several days elapse. Never settle any claim until you are sure that you have been paid for all damages, and in case you are confused, consult your attorney before you sign the settlement documents.
10. Exchange Information
Obtain the names, addresses, license plate numbers, necessary insurance information, and the phone numbers of all the drivers involved in the accident. In the case of passengers, ensure you have their names, addresses, and phone numbers. Try to be cooperative and remain calm when speaking to the witnesses, since you might need them for settlement. Besides, never apologize at the accident scene or admit to guilt.
11. Have a Personal Record
Gather all the information and keep it together in a file. Some of the essential information includes the claim number, contacts of the claim adjuster, and the receipts for expenses incurred by accident.
Accidents are unfortunate events, and once it happens, you should consider following the above steps to ensure that you get full compensation for all damages. Avoid resolving the matter on your own and always consult legal experts during this moment. As earlier stated, you might be traumatized; hence, a relative or a trustworthy lawyer who has your best interest at heart will help you fight the case.