What to do if you are in a car accident
Do you know what to do after an accident?
Most everyone will be involved in a car accident at some point in their life. In fact, statistically speaking, most people will be involved in three to four accidents over the span of their lifetime, Forbes reports. The question is — do you know what to do after the accident to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible? Most people do not.
Accidents are chaotic and stressful, and there are various issues to deal with, like ensuring your safety, getting medical care, finding financial resources to buffer the influx of bills and your lost work time, filing insurance claims, and handling legal disputes. It is challenging to handle everything effectively, especially when you are injured and overwhelmed.
We are here to help. The more you know about what to do after an accident and the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to resolve your case successfully and in a timely manner. Below are a few important steps to take at each stage of the process. For questions about how to obtain a settlement or for legal representation in Louisiana, call Hoffoss Devall at 377-433-2053 and request a free consultation.
At the Scene of the Accident
If you are able, there are several things you should take care of while at the scene of the accident:
- Move yourself to a safe location, away from traffic, and call 9-1-1 to report the accident. If possible, move your car to a safe location, too, such as the shoulder or an adjacent parking lot. If you are injured or incapacitated, try to stay calm until help arrives.
- Check to see if you can help anyone else injured in the accident. (Do not touch anyone injured; you could injure the person further.)
- Do not leave the scene until you have spoken with police. In the meantime, take photos and video of the scene and the damage to the cars.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Take down her name, contact information, insurance information, and the make/model of her car.
- Jot down the time and location of the accident.
- Gather the names and contact numbers of any eyewitnesses at the scene.
- Provide your information to the responding officer, and take down his name and the case number.
- Seek medical attention, even if you think your injuries are minor. This will protect your health as well as your legal interests.
After Leaving the Scene and Tending to Your Immediate Concerns
After you have taken care of the immediate issues, follow the next few steps to begin the claims process:
- Contact a local injury attorney, especially if your damages are substantial. A lawyer will review the facts of your accident and tell you how to best move forward.
- Review your insurance policy to see what your coverages and deductibles are and then call your insurance company to report the accident. Do not admit fault to the adjuster; you do not know all the facts of the case yet and you risk letting the adjuster use even innocent statements against you to deny your claim.
- If your insurance covers a rental car, ask your agent about any pertinent clauses.
- Write down your recollection of the accident to keep as reference while the incident is still fresh in your memory.
During the Interim of Your Case
After your attorney has helped you file your claim or lawsuit, there are few things you can do to benefit your case:
- Continue with and document your medical treatment. Stick to the doctor’s orders and attend all of your follow-up appointments.
- Keep all of your bills and receipts related to your injuries and the accident. This includes your medical bills, transportation costs for your medical appointments, proof of lost wages, and miscellaneous expenses.
- Stay off of social media until your case resolves. Insurance companies and the other party’s counsel will scope out your profiles and see if they can glean any information that could discredit your claim. For instance, if you post a picture of you picking up your child, the insurer can use it to refute your back injury. Similarly, posting selfies of you in the car could cause them to look deeper into whether you were driving distractedly when your accident occurred.
- Have patience. It is important to get a clear picture of the full extent of your injuries before settling your case. It may take several months to get a settlement and even longer if it goes to court. Your lawyer will help you decide if an offer is fair and keep you in the loop about the progress of your case.
Speak to a car accident lawyer in Lake Charles for a FREE case evaluation.
For a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Lake Charles, call Hoffoss Devall today at 377-433-2053.