The minutes and hours following a car accident can seem scattered and surreal, but they can also be the most vital when it comes to documenting the accident in the event that you must work with an auto accident attorney. Below is a general breakdown of what to do following an accident and how an auto accident attorney may be your most valuable tool.
Ensure the Health and Safety of All Involved
The health and safety of yourself, your passengers, and all other individuals involved in the accident should be your number one priority following an auto accident.
After assessing the situation for immediate injuries, it's important to remove yourself and all involved from harm's way. If you're in the middle of a busy intersection or around a bend that is difficult to see, for example, it's important to move your vehicle and all persons as soon as possible.
Contact the Police and Exchange Information
Even if no one is majorly injured, it's important to call the police so an accident report can be filed at the scene. This ensures accuracy of key information and also ensures that both parties exchange the necessary information.
Your insurance company may have given you a piece of paper with all relevant information in the event of an accident. If not, provide the other driver with your name, contact information including address and phone number, insurance company and policy number, driver's license number and license plate number. If possible, ask any witnesses for their contact information as well in the event that the claim will need to be taken to court.
Go to the Hospital or Make an Appointment with Your Doctor
Not all injuries that occur during an auto accident are immediate, so it's important to visit a doctor to be thoroughly assessed and to have any injuries documented.
This can be helpful when it comes to settling an auto accident case if the at-fault driver's insurance company claims your injuries were pre-existing or not as bad as you claim. It's important that you and your insurance company get reimbursed by the at-fault driver's company for any medical bills and injury-related costs that occurred due to the accident, so thorough documentation is vital.
Call Your Insurance Company
Even if the accident was the other driver's fault, it's important you contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident. This can benefit you in a number of ways.
If the other driver's company decides to fight the claim that their driver was at fault, you may need the help of your insurance company to fight on your behalf. Your company will usually handle the repair or totaling of your car, even if the other driver was at fault, and they may even cover immediate costs related to the accident, such as towing and medical bills.
It's also important that you follow up with your company to keep an eye on your claim. Your company may need additional information from you, or the other insurance company may not be complying and cause the claim process to drag.
Take the Next Steps by Contacting an Attorney
If settlement between insurance companies doesn't seem likely, consulting an attorney can be the best thing you can do to ensure a timely and fair settlement.
An experienced auto accident attorney will help you to get the settlement you deserve as quickly as possible. Having an attorney on your side can show the at-fault driver's company that you mean business and that you don't intend to settle for any less than you deserve. With all of the documentation you collected earlier, your attorney will be able to best advise you and help your claim along. For more information on how an auto accident attorney can help you, set up a consultation with a law firm, such as Cok Kinzler PLLP.