Chances are if you ever in a car accident it will be the most traumatic incident in your life. Even if it is a simple fender bender, the totality of the accident will leave you visibly shaken. While you will be understandably out of sorts after the accident, there are many things you should do to improve the overall outcome of the incident.
There are several things that you need to do after the accident to ensure you are taken care of all the way through it. While some of the things on the list below are not going to be relevant to each case, we included what we believe to be extremely important to be taken into consideration. Our Riverside car accident attorneys are here to help.
10 Things you need to do after an accident
#1 Stay at the scene of the accident (even if the other person leaves)
You never want to leave the scene of an accident that you are involved in. Even if the other person takes off, you need remain there on the scene to speak with the police officer who arrives. You will make matters worse for you later if you decide that you want to leave before the police arrive. It will cost you quite a bit of money for the fine and any other penalties a judge could impose.
#2 Put up flares or road signs (if available)
If you happen to be carrying an emergency roadside kit and it comes with flares and or small triangle reflective road signs, you should mark the area so oncoming traffic. The road flares are particularly effective at night and the road signs are more effective during the days. When placing the signs or flares you should start well back from the beginning of the scene to give drivers plenty of warning.
#3 Contact the police
Some insurance companies require a copy of a police report when it comes to filing a personal injury claim, so it is imperative that you contact the police immediately after the accident. Even if no is injured, it is very important that there is an official account of the accident. The report is legal document is necessary if you intend to file an insurance claim or end up in court.
#4 Tell the police officer your side of the story
When the officer arrives on the scene, they will take your statement and the statement of the other driver. Be sure that you explain your side thoroughly and plainly so that an accurate account of the accident can be filed. The police officer will also do an investigation to determine who was at fault.
#5 Get pictures of the car and the scene if possible
As the saying goes “a picture is worth 1,000 words” is true when it comes to a car accident. It is very important for you to take pictures of the damage to your car and the other person’s vehicle if possible. You might want to take other pictures of the scene that could be important later in court if it goes that far.
#6 Get an exchange information from the other person in the accident
It is the law that all drivers have a valid driver’s license, proof of insurance and car registration. So, at some point, you want to be sure that you get the information from the other person, and you give them all of your pertinent information. You will need all that to file a claim with both insurance companies.
#7 Immediately report the accident to your insurance company
Once you are officially released from the scene would a really good time for you to contact your insurance company to get the claim process rolling. The insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim, and they will come to look at your vehicle. Some of the big national insurance companies started to use smartphone apps to speed up the process.
#8 Seek medical evaluation as quickly as possible
Unless you are absolutely certain that you did not sustain any injuries, you should go to the emergency room to check out as quickly as possible. Some injuries which may appear to be mild at first could turn out to be much worse in a day a two. The sooner you go the better for both your health and your case.
#9 Keep all records and documents associated with the accident in a file
It is very important that you document everything that is related to your accident and any care that you received. It is also important to keep records of any repairs done to your car and keep all receipts. Be sure you document any work/income loss and keep everything in a single file folder for safe keeping.
#10 Be your best advocate for your rights
You will want to speak with a personal injury attorney that specializes in car accidents to ensure that all your rights are protected. This includes making any statements to your insurance company. Your attorney will know how to advise you about what kind of things to say to the adjuster assigned to your claim.