First steps to take after a car accident
After a car accident, you might have many things going through your mind, from who is going to pay for the damages to how you’re going to rearrange your day in the aftermath of the collision. Unfortunately, if you do not know how to actively protect your rights at the scene of a car accident, you may face a number of potential consequences.
Even if you think that you did not receive any injuries in a car accident, it is unwise to assume that you are perfectly fine. Instead, have a medical professional examine you for delayed-onset injuries. These injuries do not cause pain at first, but may later develop into very serious or fatal conditions. Please seek medical attention as soon as you can, for your own health and to protect your rights in the future.
What to say to other parties
In most cases, you can’t avoid speaking to the other party in the accident entirely, but you should remain careful to not say anything that may indicate that you accept liability for the collision. In many cases, simply apologizing for the accident can indicate acceptance of liability. It is wise to exchange your information with the other party, but refrain from discussing the accident with the other party, and if pressed, simply say that you need to speak with your attorney before you answer any more questions.
However, if you can get a recorded or written statement from the other party or other witnesses at the scene, you should do so. Simply remember that anything that you say can work against you later on.
Even after submitting a claim to an insurance company, it is important to remain careful about how you answer questions. In many instances, it is wise to simply tell an insurance company that your attorney will contact them instead of dealing with them directly. An insurer may not attempt to deal unfairly with an attorney where it may attempt to deal unfairly with a single customer who does not necessarily understand the process of filing and negotiating a claim.
Whether you hope to build a claim to recover damages after an accident or merely need to defend your innocence in the matter, it is important to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. This may include written or recorded statements from the other party or any witnesses, as well as a police report if an officer comes to the scene.
You can also gather evidence using your phone or another camera, and may want to speak with any nearby businesses to see if security cameras caught the accident. The more evidence you have from the moments after the accident, the more accurately you can build your claim once the dust settles.
Don’t wait to protect yourself
After you receive medical care and understand how to treat any injuries, you face the significant task of pursuing your claim with an insurer. Do not wait to begin dealing with this aspect of the process. The longer you wait, the fewer options you have and the less likely you are to receive full, fair compensation for any injuries or other losses you suffer due to the accident.