What To Do When You’ve Been In An Accident

What To Do When You’ve Been In An Accident

Nobody wants to be in a car accident – and when it happens, it can be frightening and upsetting (not to mention dangerous). In the confusion immediately following a car accident, it’s easy to forget what to do – even if you knew what to do in the first place, which not everybody does. It’s a good idea to read up now on what to do if you’re ever in an accident, so that you know what steps to take when things get scary and confusing.

Call the authorities

If you’ve been in an accident, you should call the authorities – in fact, there’s a good chance that you’re required to by law. Stay calm: ask everyone if they’re alright. If your car is in a safe spot and isn’t leaking gas, stay inside of it. Then pick up your phone and call the cops – or 911, if you need medical help for anyone.

The most important thing to do after an accident is to make sure that everyone gets the medical attention they need. The fastest way to do that is to call the authorities (again, tell them if you feel you need an ambulance, and don’t be afraid to use 911 if the situation merits it).

Most states mandate that you call the police following an accident resulting in a certain amount of damage (in a dollar amount), and the threshold is usually pretty low. So if you and another party get into a serious accident, your first call should be the police (use 911 if someone if someone is seriously injured, as the dispatcher there can send both paramedics and police).

Document the scene

Calling the police is a good start to documenting your accident – the police will ask questions and produce a police report. But you should document the scene yourself as well. If possible, take pictures of the scene, any damage to either car, nearby signage, and anything else that you think is relevant. While there’s every chance that things will work out fairly, it’s important to protect yourself in case things go to court.

Do you need a lawyer?

Speaking of things going to court, consider hiring an accident attorney if you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. Injury attorneys specialize in cases where one party injures another, and if you’re the injured (and innocent) party, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

If you’re not sure if you have a case, don’t worry. Most lawyers offer free consultations to prospective clients, and many personal injury lawyers won’t even bill you if they fail to win your case.

Even if you’re not filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may need a lawyer. Lawyers may also be necessary when you and the insurance company can’t come to an agreement. Insurance companies don’t want to pay out the big bucks (if they always did, they’d go out of business pretty fast), and hiring a lawyer can help you convince the insurance company that your case is worth spending on. Your lawyer can settle with the insurance company for an increased payment or can take them all the way to court in the hopes of winning even more.

Work within the system

You don’t want to go to a car dealership, buy a new car to replace your ruined one, and find out only later that your insurance isn’t planning on paying for it or that your personal injury suit won’t be bringing in any money. Be patient, and work with your insurance or your attorney to make sure that you’re being financially prudent.