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What to do After a Car Accident

A traffic accident is likely one of the most horrific experiences a person can encounter. Millions of accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only damage to the car as opposed to the occupants. If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. The following list is seven things you should do immediately after a driving accident.

Safety First

For minor car accidents, move your vehicles into a safe place. Make sure your vehicle is turned off, shift into park, and put your flashers on. Cones and warning triangles should be set out, especially in the dark or limited areas of visibility. Check on all passengers of both vehicles to assess life-threatening injuries. Avoid moving any person complaining of neck or back injuries unless a hazard is in the way. Take some deep breaths to avoid panic and to think clearly. Stay at the scene of the accident until the police release you.

Call the Police

A call to the police is necessary even without serious injuries. A police report is needed to file an insurance claim. You risk being denied coverage without a statement. Drivers have a legal obligation to report accidents under the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. A police call ensures the accident details are gathered and recorded. This procedure protects the accident from being your word against the other driver.

Exchange and Gather Information

Gathering and exchanging information from the other driver is essential. Gather the name, telephone, address, and insurance information from all of the people involved in the accident. Ask for the driver’s insurance card from all vehicles involved in the accident. There are lots of informational pieces that you should also collect. These pieces include vehicle damage, witnesses (names and contact information), how the collision occurred, accident scene and conditions, ambulance information, towing information, and any other pertinent details. Immediately write down as much information as you can recall. Never admit responsibility in an accident. Leave all of the talking for your insurance company.

Protect Your Rights

One of the most important things you should do after an auto accident is to contact your attorney. The Traffic Lawyers CNG law Sunshine Coast are professionals that can make certain valuable evidence is not destroyed. Insurance companies often want statements immediately following an accident. A lawyer can advise you on how to receive proper medical treatment and ensure that you get the most compensation for your damaged vehicle. Seek the advice from a personal injury lawyer because they do not charge legal fees unless they receive payment from your injuries. Lawyers understand the complex laws and rules surrounding the case. Representing yourself in court can be stressful and a poor decision.

File an Insurance Claim

After you have been safely removed from the scene of an accident, notify your insurance company and the start the claim process. Each company handles claims differently, but here are some suggestions. First, ask questions about your auto coverage. The deductible is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. Also, ask about rental car reimbursement. Without reimbursement, the costs can add up quickly while your car is in the shop. You will want to get an estimate of the damage to your vehicle and assess the report from the insurance adjuster. This person determines what the repairs will cost. Finally, get your car repaired. Insurance companies may pay the shop directly or send you money and allow you to take care of the bill.

Take Photos

Taking photos at the scene of an accident is a wise decision. Take pictures of your car,

the street, license plates, skid marks, environmental conditions, and any bodily injuries. Photos become helpful if you know you are not at fault and need evidence to prove it. A Smartphone camera will suffice for taking pictures. Remember that you are trying to gather evidence with a time stamp. Pictures are also a great tool to use to refresh your memory when speaking to an insurance company or testifying in court. Take a variety of photos from different angles and distances. This strategy helps to paint the entire picture of the accident.

Understand Pitfalls

The steps that occur after a car accident are generally the same. However, there are potential pitfalls that can happen. A collision with an uninsured motorist means that you may be facing all bills and associated costs. It is a good idea to have uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy. You may need to sue the person to collect compensation. A lawyer can discuss the best options with you. Be careful of early settlement options from the insurance company. These large sums of money can be tempting, but the costs of an accident can be lingering. There are many unexpected costs in a car accident. Finally, understand that each state has a statute of limitations. There is a certain period that a lawsuit or insurance claim must be filed.

Car accidents are scary, unexpected, costly, and inconvenient. Before you hit the road again, print a car accident checklist. Remember the basics of safety, calling for help, and documentation after an accident. Hopefully, you will never be in an accident, but now you have the knowledge of how to handle one if it does occur.

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