Steps to Take After an Auto Collision
Auto accidents are more common than you think. Most drivers will experience a car crash at least once in their lives, but people are almost never prepared for them when they happen. Even small fender benders can cause the drivers involved an extensive amount of stress and worry. Here are a few steps to take in the event you find yourself getting into an accident.
Step 1: Check Yourself and Your Passengers for Injuries
Before you do anything else, it’s essential to ensure your own safety. Take stock of your situation. Can you move? Are you bleeding? Any amount of injury should require the assistance of an experienced medical professional. Concussions and other internal injuries can be difficult to determine and should be treated by a physician as soon as possible. Call 911 if you or your passengers require medical care.
Step 2: Get Your Car Off the Road
If you’re able to move, relocate your vehicle out of the way of traffic if at all possible. This will not only ensure other passersby won’t hit your car and contribute to more damage, but it will ease the flow of traffic and allow emergency vehicles to get to you sooner. If you can’t move your car because you’re too injured or because you may be struck by another vehicle on the highway, turn on your hazard lights to prevent other drivers from hitting or driving too close to your car.
Step 3: Check on the Other Drivers
With two or more drivers involved in a collision, it’s essential to check on everyone’s health and well-being if you can move. If the other drivers are okay, get their names, contact information, and insurance information. You might also want to write down their license plate number, driver license number, and make and model of the car. Your insurance company will require this information when you report the incident to them. If the driver is injured, call an ambulance if they have not managed to do so already. If it is safe, leave them where they are until medical help arrives. They may have sustained back or neck injuries, which may worsen if they are moved.
Step 4: Take Pictures
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may or may not be able to take photographic evidence of the collision. If you can, take pictures of the area, the cars, any damage to the vehicles, and any damage to yourself or the other driver (if they give you permission). Extensive damage to either vehicle or person will require the presence of a police officer. He or she will take statements from all individuals involved and will later file a report on the incident. Your insurance company can use this information later to determine liability.
Step 5: Call Your Insurance Company
Some insurance companies require you to call them immediately after an accident. Check your policy to ensure what timeframe your company gives you to report an incident. Notifying your insurance company will start the process of determining liability and making sure your damaged car is fixed and your medical bills paid, depending on who was at fault in the incident and how the company determines compensation. Your company might also provide a rental car while you wait for your car to be repaired or replaced.
Step 6: See a Doctor
If you weren’t taken directly taken to a doctor after your collision, you should see one as soon as possible. Some injuries won’t show up for days or even weeks after your accident, and even small concussions could cause problems for you in day-to-day life. Collisions could cause any number of injuries, including whiplash, hearing damage, soft-tissue damage, bruising, and other injuries that need to be documented. If you later need to go to court against the other driver’s insurance company, these medical records will be used to prove you required treatment after the accident.
Step 7: Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Being involved in a severe car accident can lead to an enormous legal hassle. In some cases, if the other driver or their insurance companies denies liability in the crash, you might have to sue them to get the compensation you deserve. In other cases, your own insurance company might try and lowball you by paying less than you’re owed or by trying to underplay the amount physical damage you sustained. Hiring an attorney will mean you have someone on your side who will advocate for what you’re owed. The guidance of an experienced Seattle personal injury attorney can help you maximize your verdict or settlement.
If you need help filing a claim or appealing a rejected claim, don’t hesitate to give us a call. At Kornfeld Law, our team is devoted to helping people who have suffered major injuries because of the negligence of another person. We believe in holding individuals accountable for their actions and helping the wrongfully injured and their families. Our team has more than 100 years of combined legal experience to offer your case. Let us see what we can do for you. Contact us at (425) 657-5255 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today.