A motor vehicle accident that results in injuries may also result in financial hardships for the foreseeable future. You may find yourself unable to work at a time when you depend on your income more than ever. Medical bills, prescription drugs, physical therapy and other expenses can quickly devastate your finances, and you may soon realize how important it will be to pursue a successful insurance claim or personal injury case.
At a time of high stress and confusion, you do not want to make mistakes that may prolong your recovery or hinder your ability to obtain the funds you need for your current and continued care. Knowing ahead of time the most appropriate steps to take following an accident is a good way to improve the chances of proceeding smoothly through the complex processes ahead and reaching your goals.
Protecting your best interests
Your safety is primary, so protecting yourself from further injury is critical. If you have suffered injuries, your first step is to get help. Call 911 for emergency services or ask someone else to do so for you. Remain calm and still until help arrives. The following steps can be important for your future claims for compensation, so if you are unable to do them, you may ask someone else to do them for you, including:
- Calling the police, who will fill out a report you will need for your insurance claim, and obtaining the name and badge number of the officers on scene
- Moving your vehicle out of the road, if possible, or setting up flares to warn other drivers
- Taking pictures of the damage to your vehicle and to the other vehicle involved
- Writing down the make and model of the other vehicle
- Obtaining information from the other driver, including the driver’s name, phone number and insurance details
- Gathering the names and phone numbers of anyone who may have witnessed the accident
No matter the circumstances of the accident, it is never a good idea to admit fault or blame the other driver. Police investigators receive training to determine who caused an accident, so it is best to let them sort things out. Even saying you are sorry after an accident may jeopardize your insurance or personal injury claims.
You will also need to contact your insurance company to report the accident. However, insurance adjusters typically look for ways to minimize the payout of a claim, so you will want to be cautious of what you say. In fact, you may want to delay speaking with an insurance representative until you obtain legal advice about how best to proceed.