What to Do After a Car Accident: A Step-by-Step Guide
No one ever expects to be in a car accident, but the unfortunate reality is that they happen all too often. According to Missouri accident reports, rear-end collisions make up the largest percentage of car accidents, with 33% caused by distracted driving. In addition, car accidents are often more severe than they seem at first glance. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that around 20% of all accidents involve severe injury or death.
If you are involved in a car accident, there are several steps that you should take to protect yourself and others involved.
1. Contact an Attorney
If you are in a car accident, the first thing you should do is contact an attorney. An experienced rear-end accident lawyer in St. Louis can help you file a claim and get the compensation you deserve. They will also be able to advise you on whether or not to accept a settlement offer from the insurance company.
Most people try to handle car accident claims independently, but this is often a mistake. Insurance companies are notorious for offering low settlements, which rarely cover all of the injured person’s damages. Without an attorney’s help, it can be very difficult to get the full value of your claim.
2. Check for Injuries and Provide Medical Assistance if Necessary
When you’re in a car accident, you should first check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is injured, provide medical assistance immediately. Even if it seems like everyone is okay, it’s still a good idea to have everyone checked out by a doctor. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent but can cause severe problems down the road.
If you or any of your passengers are injured, seek medical assistance immediately. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital – call an ambulance instead. If there are no serious injuries, take a few minutes to assess the damage to both vehicles. Make sure that the scene is safe before getting out of your car.
3. Call the Police and Get a Copy of the Accident Report
If you are in a car accident, you should call the police. They will come to the scene and create an accident report. This report will be critical later on, so get a copy. The police will ask for information, such as your name, address, insurance company, and driver’s license number.
Have this information readily available when the police arrive. You will also need to provide them with a description of the accident, being as accurate and honest as possible. The officers will use your account to cross-reference with other reports and create their reports.
4. Take Pictures of the Scene and Damage to the Cars
When you’re in a car accident, the moments after can be chaotic and confusing. If you’re lucky, there will only be minor damage to your car, and no one will be injured. But even if that’s the case, it’s still important to take some time to collect yourself and document what happened.
You should take pictures of the scene. Make sure to get shots of both cars from all angles and any skid marks or debris on the road. If either car is leaking fluids or has broken glass, make sure to capture that too. Having photographic evidence can help when it comes time to file an insurance claim or lawsuit.
5. Exchange Insurance Information with Other Drivers Involved
When you get into a car accident, the first thing you should do is exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved. This includes their name, contact information, insurance company, and policy number. You will also want to take down their driver’s licenses and plate numbers. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their contact information. Gathering as much information as possible in case of a dispute, later on is essential.
6. Notify Your Insurance Company
Notifying your insurance company is usually a very simple process. You can either call them or go online and report the accident. They will ask for information about the accident, such as the date, time, and location. Be sure to have this information ready when you call or log in.
The insurance company will also want to know about the damage to both cars involved in the accident. Make sure to take pictures of the damage and keep all receipts related to repairs. This information will help with filing a claim later on.
If you are involved in a car accident, there are several steps that you should take to ensure your safety and get the compensation that you deserve. The first thing to do is stay calm and collect any relevant information, such as the names and contact info of other drivers involved in the accident. With these tips in mind, you will be better equipped to handle the aftermath of a car accident.