Just like mistakes, accidents simply happen, and unfortunately, there is nothing we can do in most cases. Being in a car accident can be shocking and a traumatic experience overall, but, on the other hand, there are plenty of things we can and should do after being in one, and following these legal steps can be of much help.
1. Check up on all participants
Car accidents are traumatic experiences for every person, and when it comes to one of them, the first thing one should do is check if they are injured or not. If you find yourself in that situation and are not seriously injured, the next step is to check up on every passenger in your vehicle and other cars involved. On the other side, if the injuries are severe, it is best not to move and wait for help. Human life is the most important, and because of that, it is necessary to make sure that every person is okay before taking any other step. Seeking medical help is always a must because some injuries cannot be seen but can be serious and even cause death.
2. Inform the police
Scared people will usually try to solve the problem on their own, but being a participant in such an accident can lead to legal consequences, and informing the police is a much better solution. It should be done right after checking the passengers for injuries and calling the ambulance, as police officers will write an official report and check whose fault the accident is. There is a huge possibility that other drivers will try to work out all the reparations without involving the police or insurance companies, especially if the accident is their fault. Try to avoid it, as you can easily end up with a ruined vehicle that you need to fix on your own. By contacting authorities, you reduce any chance of being scammed for money, and in case you are the one responsible for the accident, it reduces the chance of any possible legal troubles that might come afterward.
3. Photograph the scene
One of the biggest advantages of modern technology is a tiny camera built-in in every cellphone that can be used for instant photography. It is a great thing when we want to save some priceless moments, as we can take a picture and relive them whenever we want, but it has an irreplaceable role when it comes to an accident. Since we all have our mobile phones with us all the time, we can use them to photograph the scene of an accident and use them as valid proof if necessary. Besides the scene, it is necessary to take pictures of both (or more) vehicles and all the damage, as it can be one of the most useful proofs if the case comes to court. By having physical proof of what happened and how big of damage there is on vehicles, you can be sure that everything that might happen later will be based on photographs you have provided and documented. Besides that, also make sure to take photos of the road and from different perspectives as this too will help in case of any legal trouble.
4. Gather the necessary information
Well, this is just the basic of it all, as exchanging insurance and other info is simply a must, but because it often happens that people are overwhelmed with everything that happened, they usually forget about this part. Now, each accident is different, but the steps that should be taken after it is the same, and gathering the important information is something that shouldn’t be skipped. There are a few things we need to write down, and when it comes to information about the other driver, we need to ask them for their driver’s license number, name, address, and the name of their insurance company with the policy number. It is also necessary to ask the passengers for their contact information and check if there are any witnesses that can help us by writing statements about the accident. Of course, their contact information should also be recorded, as they can help us if we need to prove that the accident is not our fault.
5. Consult with professionals
The best way in order to be sure you will not make any mistake, do, say, or make some statement that might hurt your case if it comes to the court is by consulting experts in this field. Namely, many lawyers have vast expertise and experience in dealing with car accidents, and just one simple piece of advice from them at the right moment can be a lifesaver in terms of responsibility and who’s to blame wise. Furthermore, it’s always highly advised that before you talk to the insurance company lawyer, you first consult your own or even ask them to represent you. They will either provide advice on what and how to talk to them and whether you need to file certain paperwork or represent you and deal with everything that might come your way while you recover from the accident. You can check here and find out more about how and why consulting a personal attorney before any other action can be crucial to your case.
6. Take care of the vehicle and report everything to the DMV
If, for any reason, the vehicle doesn’t work after an accident and it needs to be towed, make sure to gather all the paperwork and receipts, as you’ll need them in order to get compensated from the insurance company. They will either pay the entire amount or pay a sum that’s close to the estimated value of the car if the overall costs are higher than the vehicle value. Either way, by submitting everything, you will get compensated. The next thing is to report to DMV, and here, you need to be careful as there are time limits that differ from state to state. Once again, before making any move or decision, make sure to contact and consult your lawyer, as they will know precisely what, how, and when to do it.