Being involved in an automobile accident can be extremely frightening. Such a sudden event is startling, and if there are any injuries it can be scary and traumatic. Not only this, but dealing with the aftermath of a damaged vehicle and medical bills can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, a huge portion of the population will be involved in at least one automobile accident. This means that it is important that you are prepared, and know what to do if the time comes that you find yourself in such a situation.
Here the top 7 things to keep in mind immediately following an automobile accident:
1. Check everybody in all of the vehicles that were involved in the accident. Make sure that no pedestrians or bicyclists were involved, and ensure that no one is seriously injured. If there are any injuries, promptly call emergency services. Having a first aid kit in your car at all times can help you to address some simple injuries promptly.
2. Do not apologize. Even if you think the accident is your fault, or you are trying to smooth things over with the other driver to keep the situation from escalating, do not say that you are sorry for the accident. This is not a matter of being polite; it is a matter of protecting yourself. If anyone hears you say that you are sorry for the accident, this simple statement can be used against you should a lawsuit occur.
3. Find any bystanders who may have witnessed the accident. Make sure that you gather their full contact information, and jot down any statements that they may make. Ask if anyone has taken pictures of the accident, and have them transfer these pictures to your phone, or email them to you. These witnesses may become instrumental in a future court case or insurance claim.
4. Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible. Filing your claim early will make sure that you remember all of the details, and keep suspicions from being raised as a response to too much time passing. Remember, even if the accident is your fault, you need to report it to the insurance company. Also be sure to keep careful records of all correspondence with the insurance company, and any money that you spend so that they can be included in a future claim if applicable.
5. Collect evidence of any damage that occurred to your vehicle, and any injuries that you sustained immediately after the accident. Take pictures of your vehicle from many different angles and write down any symptoms that you are experiencing.
6. Ask any passengers that were in your vehicle at the time to make notes as to what they experienced. Ask them to write down what they saw, heard and felt, and any symptoms that they may be experiencing after the accident.
7. Contact a personal injury attorney who is highly experienced in the field of auto accidents. Discuss with them the options that you may have in regards to the property damage and injuries that you have sustained due to the accident.