With over 227 million drivers on the road in the U.S. the roads can be a chaotic place. — With millions of vehicles on the road each day, accidents are inevitable.
Almost 6 million vehicles are involved in accidents in the U.S. every single year. This means there are over 16,000 crashes every single day. Whether it’s a minor accident or a life-altering collision, accidents are incredibly scary and can result in lengthy legal repercussions and lawsuits.
If you find yourself involved in a car accident, it’s incredibly important to protect yourself and that requires legal advice from an experienced professional. Understanding your options after a collision is integral. The physical, mental, and financial repercussions can have a dramatically negative impact on your life if approached incorrectly. It’s important to learn more by searching online for legal advice from professional car accident attorneys.
Here are the first five things to expect after being involved in a car accident.
Make Sure Everyone Is Alright
Over 38,800 people perished in 2019 due to car accidents in the U.S. This means acting fast can be the difference between life and death. If you are physically able you should immediately call your local emergency services. Then it’s integral to check on other passengers or victims of the accident to see if there is an immediate way you can help.
If you are too injured to assist, do not move. Call emergency services immediately, and wait for their assistance. If you are not seriously injured and can move, your next step is to check on any other passengers involved in the accident.
Before exiting your car, if you can remember it’s always good to turn on your hazard lights, to alert other drivers that your car is a hazard if the accident isn’t obvious. If your car is functional and the situation is safe, you could even pull your car to the side of the road to allow traffic to pass through. These are only things you should try if you are unharmed and no other passenger in the vehicle is in danger or injured.
Take Pictures and Write Notes
Every State is different. In Florida, you’re legally required to report any accident you witness to the police. If the incident is minor, you should call law enforcement’s non-emergency line. If it’s serious, you must call 911. Hopefully, law enforcement will arrive to help. Typically if possible, Officers immediately begin documenting the scene of the accident. What the officer’s document will ultimately go into their Accident Report which will be filed with law enforcement officials. Always remember to note who the law enforcement officers are, and gain access to a copy of the accident report. You may need this for any insurance claim or legal action you take in the future.
If possible, you should attempt to document the damage yourself. Do this by taking pictures of all the vehicles involved and any damage you can see to ensure that you have independent documentation of the events.
Photos are the best type of evidence but written notes and witness contact information could be crucial for your insurance company or legal team.
This Is What Insurance Is For
Make sure to exchange insurance information with all the other parties involved in the accident. This is a list of information you should request from any other driver involved in the collision:
- Full legal name
- Contact Information: Typically a telephone number/email address
- Driver’s license number and license plate
- Insurance company name and policy number
- A description of the vehicle involved in the accident, including the model and color
It’s important that you do not discuss the situation in detail with anyone until you have hired a legal counsel. Your words can be taken out of context and lead to you being blamed for the accident and leave you liable for the collision. Feel free to discuss the accident with medical professionals, law enforcement officials, and your insurance company but it’s important to get legal help first!
Contacting Your Insurance Team
Now it’s time to reach out to your insurance company and report the incident. Your insurance will review the claim and make a decision on who they believe is at fault. To figure out which party is culpable, your insurance company will investigate your vehicle and review the information provided by authorities, medical professionals, and anyone else involved in the accident. They will consider all evidence to determine who is liable and insurance companies are always looking to protect themselves from any and all liability to pay out as little as possible to claimants.
It’s essential to be upfront with your insurance company and provide any information to help prove that you’re not at fault. Write down notes about the incident and contact them as soon as you have an attorney while the accident is fresh in your mind, so you can recall it accurately.
Get A Professional Accident Attorney
Obtaining legal advice from an experienced local lawyer can make a huge difference should you face any legal issues after a car accident. This is even more important if anyone was badly injured or killed in the incident. An attorney can help protect you and ensure no one blames you for something that wasn’t your fault or that you get compensation for anything that happened to you. Pain and suffering can be a huge issue after an accident. Only an attorney can help you get what you deserve. Alternatively, lawyers are the only people who can defend you from any potential charges.
This is something you shouldn’t compromise one. After an accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible. Good legal counsel is the best way to ensure you and your loved ones are protected.