Protecting Yourself After a Car Accident
Being in a car accident — even a minor one — can be physically and mentally distressing. You or the people in the other car might be hurt, your vehicles are damaged, and you need to worry about notifying the police and maybe the EMTs. Keeping your wits about you after a car accident is a difficult task, but if you can manage to follow a few steps, you will help protect your health and your legal situation.
First, you need to get yourself to a safe place if possible. If your car will move, take it to the shoulder of the road. If not, put on your hazard lights and carefully exit the car. Check on the other people involved and then move away from traffic. If you can’t move, call 911 and wait for the EMTs to arrive. Never, ever leave the scene of an accident.
Notify the Police or Highway Patrol
For a small fender bender, you might be tempted to exchange insurance information with the other driver and handle it yourselves. That’s never a good idea. You need an objective assessment of the accident scene and an official police report. Both will help you with your insurance company, particularly if you are not at fault. Remember, never admit blame. Let the authorities sort out the situation.
Document the Accident
Even if the police are there, you need to document the accident yourself. Use your phone to take pictures. Do exchange names and contact information with the other people involved. Get the make, model and license plate of the other car(s) and take down the badge numbers of any responding officers. If there are witnesses, get their information as well. Everyone may seem cooperative at the scene, but sometimes things take a turn for the worse later on. You need hard evidence to support your version of events.
Don’t Talk to the Other Side
In general, you should not talk to the other driver’s insurance company, adjuster or attorney. Although there may be rare exceptions, talking to the other side can harm your case and make you vulnerable to a lawsuit. Unless your representatives recommend it, don’t give information to the other side. Let them handle it. And again, never admit fault even if you think you’re to blame. You might be mistaken and not know all the circumstances even though you were there.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you think you are fine after a car accident, you should be checked out at a medical facility. The experts at Regional Medical Group will access you for whiplash, concussions and other injuries that may not be immediately apparent. Sometimes, medical problems arise hours, days and even weeks after you’ve been in a collision. Early diagnosis and treatment can keep you from developing long-term issues with your health. After an accident, call Regional Medical Group.
When you are in a car accident, the actions you take immediately afterward can make a huge difference in your legal situation and your medical one. Call the authorities, visit a doctor and deal only with your insurance company and/or lawyer for the best result.