Ranging from minor fender benders to catastrophic collisions, car accidents are frustrating, damaging and burdensome for all parties involved — regardless of who’s to blame.
So while they’re not fun to think about, you should know what to do ahead of time in the unfortunate case that you do become the victim of a motor-vehicle disaster.
Here’s a list of things to keep in mind right after the collision occurs and you’ve taken a few seconds to gather yourself.
Four things TO GET:
1. Critical Information
- Get the other driver’s license plate number and driver’s license information.
- Take pictures of the accident from multiple angles.
- Jot down names and contact information of any witnesses.
- File a claim right away with your insurance company, even if you’re not at fault. Also, make sure you record the claim number.
- If you’re hit by a driver who leaves the scene (in other words, a “hit-and-run”), immediately report it to the police. If you fail to do so, you may not be able to collect uninsured driver benefits.
2. Critical Care
If you’ve been injured, or you think you may be injured, seek medical attention right away if possible, but definitely within the first 72 hours of the accident. You may feel fine right after the collision, but most people experience significant increases in pain within 24 hours of the accident.
Getting the medical attention you need is crucial for your health, but it also affects your personal injury compensation. If you don’t get immediate treatment, the opposing insurance company may argue you’re exaggerating or faking your injuries.
Get evaluated at the hospital, at your primary doctor’s office or even at your chiropractor’s/physical therapist’s office if you have one.
3. Critical Estimates
Get car-damage estimates from at least three auto repair shops. It’s also wise to go to a dealer consistent with the make of your car.
4. Critical Legal Help
Personal injury litigation and mitigation is a complicated and stressful world to face on your own. Consider hiring a personal injury lawyer to help you navigate through the complex processes, clarify legal ambiguities and fight for the compensation you deserve.
For tips on what to look for in a personal injury attorney, check out our last blog post on finding the best personal injury lawyer for your case. Another relevant article to reference: Personal Injury Follow Up: Do I Really Have To Go To The Doctor?
Four things NOT TO DO:
1. DO NOT sign any waivers/releases or accept payments from insurance companies until you’ve been fully evaluated by a medical professional. If you sign or accept anything before being medically assessed, you run the risk of severe under compensation.
2. DO NOT give a statement to anyone but the police until you speak with an attorney.
3. DO NOT move your car before police arrive, unless you are creating a traffic hazard.
4. DO NOT leave the scene until police arrive — unless, of course, the need for medical attention requires you to do so.
Need help with your motor vehicle accident? Click the button below to request a free consultation with Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Howard B. Segal and he’ll help you get everything straightened out.