Tips to handle a car accident

If you’re reading this article, chances are or someone you care about has been involved in a car crash. There’s also a good chance that even if you haven’t you will be at some point in your life, considering the fact that there are approximately six-million vehicle accidents in the United States each year.

The fallout from car accidents can be extremely serious, whether it’s an injury that persists for months or even years or a lawsuit. If so, you may find yourself in a court trial that drags out for ages. You may even face bankruptcy as a result of a car crash if you don’t get adequate compensation.

This can all be a lot to deal with, so it's important to know exactly what you need to be aware of if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in an accident. Before we go into any more details, read over this essential list of all of the steps you need to take post-accident.

The Car Accident Safety and Insurance Checklist

● Check for injuries and call 911 if you, the other driver, or any passengers need urgent medical care

● Call the police, especially if the other driver flees the scene or refuses to give you their information

● Exchange insurance information with the other driver

● Take pictures of the damage to both vehicles, any injuries, and the accident scene with your phone

● If the police haven’t made a report, file a police report and keep a copy of the report

● Keep and file copies of any medical reports related to any injuries you sustained in the accident

● File an insurance claim with the company of the driver who caused the accident*

● Total up and document all of the expenses related to the crash, including lost wages and opportunity loss

*You may live in a “no-fault” state, in which case your own insurance company will cover your damage and injuries up to the policy’s limit. The other driver’s insurance company will also cover their damage and injuries, regardless of who is at fault.

Now, with this checklist in mind, let’s cover some of the important details.

The Scene of the Accident

After taking care of the basic emergency-level steps, like making sure everyone is okay and getting help on the scene if there are medical emergencies, you’ll need to make contact with the other driver and exchange insurance information. Do not forget this step! Without the other driver’s insurance information, you can’t file a claim.

While you are still on the scene, make use of your smart phone and take photos of anything and everything related to the crash. Get photos that show each side of both cars involved, and take close up pictures of damage. You’ll also want to photograph any injuries you’ve sustained.

Collecting Information in Preparation for Filing a Claim

Whether or not you are at fault is irrelevant to gathering necessary information. It is critical that you let your insurance agent know what happened. Filing a police report is also helpful for establishing a record of what occurred, the documenting of which can be used as evidence down the road. If you did sustain injuries, meet with your doctor, and obtain written documentation by your doctor describing the injuries.

You should also begin to add up your losses. Take your car to the mechanic and get an assessment of the damage. Add up your medical bills. If you missed work, total up your lost wages. If you missed out on other opportunities because of injuries, contact an attorney and discuss opportunity losses and how to factor those costs into your damage assessment.

Negotiating a Settlement

Once you have everything documented and have filed an insurance claim, some time will pass before you receive a settlement offer. You do not have to accept any settlement offer. If you don’t think an offer is adequate, you can opt to take your claim to civil court if you feel the settlement is not enough.

Before doing either of these things, you should seriously consider consulting with an attorney to discuss your case. A lawyer can help you determine what a good settlement amount is and what your likelihood of success in court may be.

Remember, if you don’t accept a settlement, sue, and lose, you will walk away with nothing but legal fees. No matter what you decide, be sure to seek legal advice and not tackle the problem all on your own. Follow this link to choose a professional team that you can count on.