What Should You Do After an Accident?
When you’re involved in an accident, it can be very stressful. From speaking to the police to managing hospital bills, or even dealing with the insurance company afterward; it’s all overwhelming and takes away from what’s most important: your recovery. Unfortunately, this stress can lead to you making mistakes that could prove costly in the long run.
Our attorneys have compiled a list of eight tips to help you avoid mistakes after a crash. Following these not only will relieve some of the stress but could help you recover the compensation you deserve after a crash.
Steps to Take After an Accident
- Stay calm. After an accident, stay calm and proceed in a business-like manner. Do not get in an argument with the other drivers or make accusations.
- Call 911 quickly. It’s important that you contact 911 immediately after an accident. Once law enforcement and emergency responders arrive, cooperate with them fully. Answer questions honestly, but do not speculate or offer more information than what they ask you.
- Don’t ignore crash evidence. If possible, act quickly after the accident to gather evidence about what happened. Take photos of the scene, including damages to vehicles and their positions relative to each other. Photograph skid marks, debris or anything else that you feel contributed to the accident. Lastly, photograph any injuries you suffered; even minor bruising. Witnesses can also help a case so gather names and contact information of anyone who saw the crash or was involved in it.
- Don’t decline medical care. Should emergency personnel feel you need to go to the hospital, go. You may think you don’t need medical attention right away, but you should get a full medical examination as soon as possible. Some serious injuries are not immediately apparent but could start to cause problems a day or so after the crash. Moreover, seeing a doctor documents the accident and your injuries, which may be important if you file a claim later.
- Don’t forget the police report. If a law enforcement officer responds to the scene, an accident report will be filed. Ask how you can get a copy and how long it will take. This official report of the accident could be useful to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries or other losses so it’s important to get it quickly. Remember, police do not determine civil liability for an accident. This is usually left up to the insurance company and is based upon reports and witnesses.
- Notify your insurance carrier right away. Contact your insurance company within 24 hours after a car accident. While speaking with them, do not admit fault or accept responsibility for the accident (unless in fact, you are at fault). Never give a written or recorded statement without talking to a lawyer first. Some insurance companies could use this against you later on. Also, don’t downplay your injuries or the damage to your vehicle.
- Don’t accept a quick settlement. Shortly after your accident, you may hear from the other driver’s insurance company. The adjuster may offer you a settlement for your losses or even send you a check in the mail pending your signature. You can be certain it may be less than what you deserve. If an offer is made quickly, it cannot be based on the costs of the accident that are not even realized yet. Do not accept a quick, lowball settlement offer and do not sign anything an insurance representative presents to you. You may sign away your right to the compensation you need and deserve.
- Don’t proceed without a lawyer. Managing the reports, medical bills, and battling with the insurance company can be overwhelming. You’ll likely benefit from the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer. At the very least, an attorney can review your case and advise you about what to expect and how to protect yourself. Should you have a significant claim due to injuries or other losses, an attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Remember, each case is unique, but in most cases, lawyers help you get a better settlement than you could on your own. If you don’t need a lawyer, most will tell you that upfront.
The Attorneys at Riddle & Brantley Can Help
Accidents, unfortunately, happen every day and with the increase of traffic on North Carolina highways, the chances of you being involved in one are even greater. After a crash, it’s critical that you know the proper steps to take so that your rights are protected.
For more than thirty years, Riddle & Brantley has stepped in as the victim’s advocate. We’ve helped thousands of injured victims navigate the stress of an accident and recover the compensation they truly deserve. With over 200 years of combined experience, our attorneys and staff know what it takes to win and we’ll be by your side throughout the entire process.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries after an accident, contact our team today. The initial consultation is always free and you won’t pay any fees unless we win your case.