When we're teenagers and our parents are teaching us how to drive, they cover the basics. They make sure we know how to parallel park. We try their patience by practicing a k-turn over and over again. Some of you had those overly cautious parents who reminded us time and time again to keep a vehicle safety kit in the trunk. They taught us all of these things. Yet they never taught us what to do if we got into a car accident. It sounds like it would be common sense. However, there are certain things you need to do after a collision to protect your body and to prove fault. Car accident lawyers remind their clients of this all the time. Yet there are so many accident victims who ignore this advice.
When you don't do the right thing after your car accident, you make your injury lawyer's job really difficult. For example, if you don't go to the hospital after your crash, your attorney won't have medical records to prove your injuries. Or you and the other drivers agree to trade insurance policy information without calling the cops. The next thing you know, you find out the names the other drivers gave you are fake, and you have no idea how to track them down. All you have to do is follow these three simple steps. First, call 911 – no matter what. Second, go to the emergency room, even if you don't think you're injured. Finally, call an experienced car accident lawyer immediately after your crash. If you follow these steps, your auto accident attorney will have a good chance of getting you the compensation you deserve.
You Have to Call 911 Immediately After the Crash
The first thing you must do after any car accident is to call the police. When you call 911, they'll send an officer out to do a thorough investigation of the accident scene. The officer will set up cones, warning triangles and put on their hazard lights to keep you safe. They'll look to see if either of the drivers is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Essentially, they want to see if they can see which of the drivers was at fault. They're also going to create an accident report that contains vital information about the crash. This includes:
- The name, cell phone number, and license information for the drivers
- A copy of the drivers' auto insurance company and policy as well as registration information and proof of insurance
- A description of the accident scene including the make and model of vehicles involved
- Notations about the weather and road conditions
- Photos of the scene and the vehicles
- Injuries suffered by either of the drivers
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Contact information for witnesses and passengers
- Statements made by all drivers involved
- Notation about anyone admitting fault
- The license plate number of any vehicle that flees the scene
This is the information your car accident lawyer needs to prove fault. This police report will be provided to the insurance companies as well. Of course, they'll do some of their own digging. For the most part, however, this report provides them with the basics. It helps point them in the direction of where they need to go for further evidence. If you don't call the police, your attorney won't have the benefits of the police report. You also open yourself up to vulnerability.
You have no idea if the other driver is being honest with you. They may not have insurance coverage. Or they don't have their insurance card on them. If they ask you to not call the police officers, there's a good reason. They don't want an officer to come to the scene. There's never a good reason to agree to this. Some of the reasons why they may ask you to not call the cops to include:
- They are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- The other driver has no insurance
- The other driver doesn't have a valid license or registration
- The other party is driving a stolen vehicle
There's no way to know if the other drivers are being honest. Rather than take this risk, you're better off just calling the cops. There's no reason to make your lawyer's job any harder than it already is.
Go to the Hospital No Matter What
Some people think that, because they feel fine after their accident, they aren't injured. The truth is that you have no clue if you're hurt or not. There are all sorts of injuries that don't hurt at all. You could have suffered a traumatic brain injury. You might have internal bleeding. There's no way to know. Even if you're a doctor, you can't diagnose this sort of thing without running the necessary tests. You need to go to the hospital, so the doctors there can run all the tests necessary to determine if you've suffered any injuries.
Your Attorney Will Have to Pursue the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims. If the insurance company did this, they'd be out of business, They have to review the file and see who was at fault. They may find that each driver is a little bit at fault. It all depends on your case. the good news is that you won't be the one dealing with the insurance companies anymore. Your attorney will reach out to the company right away. If the company refuses to negotiate a settlement of your injury claim, that's okay. Your lawyer will file suit against the company and the other driver. If the company wants to take its chances in court, that's fine. You know you have a legitimate claim and feel that the damage to your car is significant. You also know you submitted all of the forms the insurance company asked for. If the insurance adjuster still refuses to pay your insurance claim, the case will proceed.
Avoid Posting About Your Accident on Social Media
Even if you follow all the other rules, there's one more rule that can destroy your car accident lawsuit. If you post about your collision on social media, you are giving the defendant ammunition to use against you. Anything you post online can be used against you in a civil case. Even if you delete something, that doesn't mean the other party didn't already take a screen print of your post or comment. The same thing goes for pictures. You could post a picture of your vehicle, all smashed up from the accident. If a friend makes a joking comment about how you can finally get that brand new car you've waned, it can hurt your case. After a period of time, this information is shared all over the internet. The defendant's lawyer will claim that you purposely got into an accident so you could sue and get a new car.
You Should Meet with a Seasoned Car Accident Lawyer Sooner Rather than Later
We all think we would know what to do if we were ever involved in a car accident. However, in the heat of the moment, everything you know may go out the window. It's important that you take a moment to clear your head and think straight. The most important thing is that you make sure you're physically okay after an accident. The only way to know for sure is to go to the hospital. You also need to protect your legal rights. To do that, you need to provide your car accident attorney with as much evidence as possible. You can't do that if you don't call the police. Finally, while you aren't required to retain a car accident lawyer, you should at least meet with one.. Take advantage of your free, initial consultation. Meet with a lawyer who can answer any questions you may have. They can also give you an idea of what your case is worth.
Call today and set up a date and time that works for you. The defendant is going to have a lawyer working for them and you should too. There's just too much at stake to leave things up to chance.