10 Steps to Take After You Have Been in an Accident
Getting involved in an accident, whether in a car or bike, can be frightening, so it’s best to determine the appropriate steps to do. Even though there are various ways to avoid accidents, one can never be certain that it won’t happen, which is why it’s handy to know what to do in such situations.
Here are different steps to take after being involved in an accident:
Even if you think the accident is minor, you should stop at the scene of the accident. It’s your legal obligation to stop and check for any damages when you collide with something. Some common accidents may need legal action, so it’s best to determine what these are.
Also, you should determine if anyone involved needs immediate medical attention. If possible, it’s best not to move any vehicles unless they’re causing major traffic problems. It’s best to wait for the police before you try moving things around.
2) Preserve The Scene
To prevent more accidents from happening, keep your lights on. If it’s already dark and your lights aren’t functioning or if you’re using a bike, use a flashlight while waiting for the police or you’re on the phone with a bike accident attorney.
3) Contact The Police
Even if you’ve only experienced minimal injuries, it’s best to contact the police to ensure that there’s a legal accident report. Your insurance company may require a police report in filing a claim, even if the claim is just for vehicle damage. The vehicles that were involved in the accident should remain in their location until the police arrive, too.
4) Accurately Document Events
As soon as policemen arrive, ensure you tell your side of the story that leads to the accident. If you don’t know about other facts, inform the officer about it. Avoid guessing or misstating anything about what happened. If you’re unsure about something, such as if you have any injuries, tell the officer that you’re not sure instead of saying no. Take note that, sometimes, the injuries in bicycle or motorcycle accidents only become obvious hours after the accident happens. You should also ensure that the statements of the other party involved are also accurate.
5) Take Photos
If you have your cell phone with you, take photos of the vehicles where you can see the damage. If, unfortunately, you have visible injuries, it’s best to take photographs of these, too. But you shouldn’t get in the way of the ongoing police investigation.
If you can’t take photos at the scene, ensure that you immediately take them after the accident.
6) Get Information of Your Accident
Everyone knows that obtaining the facts related to your accident is a crucial step. However, many forget due to the stressful time of the accident.
In this step, you want to obtain the names of the people involved, their addresses, and phone numbers. You should also take note of the car or motorcycle license plate number and its description. If you can, also obtain the other party’s insurance company name and the vehicle identification number. Sometimes, getting the license plate number isn’t enough since insurance companies usually just record the vehicle identification number and type of car.
If there are witnesses of the accident, it’s best to get their information, too. This becomes handy later when your lawyer wants to contact them when necessary. If the police are working on the scene, they’ll also provide you with a police report number. This number is important when obtaining police reports later, which can be used when claiming compensation.
7) Inform Your Insurance Company
You should inform your insurance company as soon as you can. If you can call your insurance claims number at the scene of the accident, this could be more useful. A police officer may provide the insurance company with more accurate information than you because you’re most likely upset during this time.
If you sustained injuries as part of the accident, find out if you have medical benefits as part of your coverage. For you to avail this, you’re required to pay extra, but it can be helpful in times like this. If you have medical insurance coverage, you’ll be required to submit accident-related medical bills to your insurance provider. These add-on medical benefits can be used by all the occupants of the vehicle during the accident.
8) Get Medical Help
Usually, injuries that are caused by bicycle or motorcycle accidents aren’t immediately obvious. People who are involved report feeling pain one or two days after the accident. Unless you’re a hundred percent sure that you don’t have injuries, you should go to the nearest emergency room or consult your primary health provider.
Some accidents that involve minor injuries even sustain injury to the spinal cord. If you were dazed or lost consciousness even for a short time during or immediately after a collision, it’s possible that you’ve suffered a head injury or a concussion. If this is the case, it’s crucial to have yourself examined since it can cause behavioral or cognitive changes if it’s not treated immediately.
9) Keep Your Documents In A File
For easy retrieval, your documents and obtained information should be kept together in a file. Your file should include your insurance claim number, the name of the claim adjuster, phone numbers and names of contacts, as well as receipts of expenses incurred due to the accident.
10) Contact a Lawyer
Probably the most crucial step to take after being involved in an accident is to contact your lawyer. The lawyer will help protect your rights and ensure that sufficient evidence is present or preserved.
Insurance companies may also want to get statements right after an accident. Thus, it’s crucial that you talk with your lawyer first before providing a statement. This is because your attorney can advise you on different issues, including how to ensure full compensation for the vehicle damage and how to ensure that you’ll get your medical expenses covered.
Personal injury lawyers are paid on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay them unless they have recovered the compensation you deserve.
An accident may be a cause for panic but knowing the steps to take during such time can help protect you from unnecessary stress. These steps should help you focus on your insurance claims as well as protect your rights.
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