Even if you are one of the safest drivers on the road, chances are at some point you will be involved in an accident. With more drivers on today's roads, it's a good bet you will need to be prepared to deal with the aftermath of an accident. But just like the Boy Scouts, being prepared is your ticket to a successful outcome. Therefore, if you'd like to know what to do after a car accident, here is a checklist of some of the most important points.
Before the Accident
Rather than be caught off-guard when an accident happens, there are a few steps you can take. Among these are always having copies of your insurance card and registration in the car at all times, in addition to having your driver's license with you as well. Along with these steps, be sure to always carry a vehicle safety kit with you, which can include such items as a first-aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, spare tire, and other important items.
At the Accident Scene
If a car accident does occur, the scene may be chaotic. However, if you stay calm and are cooperative with police and others, you'll find yourself in a much better position to ensure your legal rights are protected. First and foremost, stay at the scene and check yourself, other drivers, and any passengers for injuries. If possible, move any vehicles off the road and call police so they can document the accident and file a report, which may be important to you later on when dealing with lawyers or insurance companies. Along with this, use your cell phone to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, other vehicles, and surrounding property. And last but certainly not least, talk to any witnesses that were present, but never admit fault or allow your driver's license or registration to be photographed by anyone, and don't leave the scene until other drivers and the police have done so.
Once You've Left the Scene
To protect your legal rights once you've left the scene, contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. Also be sure to get a copy of the accident report from the police, and get a medical exam to document any injuries you may have sustained. It's also important to keep very detailed notes of any physical and mental issues that arise due to the accident, since this may help you prove your case if it goes to trial. And be sure to get an estimate of the damages you sustained, since this will be important when dealing with insurance companies.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
After doing everything discussed here, contact a car accident attorney
or personal injury attorney for a free consultation to discuss your accident. By doing so, you'll have a chance to tell your side of the story and receive an objective opinion regarding any compensation you may be entitled to due to the negligence and carelessness of the other driver or drivers involved in the accident.