Naturally, we all hope that we will never have a car accident. Being involved in even a relatively minor one is an experience you could do without.
But, sadly, accidents happen. They are very much a fact of life and as more vehicles come onto the road the chances of your having one go up. So, it is very important that you know what to do if you are involved in a car accident.
Stop and make sure everyone is alright
Regardless of the nature of the accident, you should always stop and make sure that everyone is alright. Usually, if you bump someone while sitting in a queue of traffic, nobody will be hurt. But, if the person you hit is very elderly this may not be the case. They may be very shaken by the incident. In which case, you will need to render assistance. Besides which, in most states, stopping and helping any injured parties is a legal obligation.
Call the police if necessary
If anyone is hurt or there is damage, call the police. Again, in most states, this is a legal obligation.
Ring a car accident lawyer
As soon as you can, contact a car accident lawyer. Most of the best ones provide a free to use 24/7 advice line or live chat facility. So, if it is appropriate to do so you could ring one while you are still at the scene of the accident.
They will be able to ensure that you do not inadvertently say anything that makes it look like you caused the accident. This is a favorite trick of drivers who are actually to blame. Often, they will try to do this while still at the scene, so will try to distort the facts when speaking to the police. Their insurance company will likely also use similar tactics to reduce their exposure and the amount they have to payout.
Gather the details you need
The lawyer will also quickly explain how you can gather evidence at the scene. Simple things like taking a few photos, a short video and getting the contact details of those involved and witnesses can make a big difference to the success of your claim. The more evidence you have the easier it makes things for your lawyer and the insurance company.
Let your insurance company know
As soon as you can tell your insurance company you have had an accident. Try not to go into too much detail at this stage. Just make a note of what they are asking for and tell them you will get back to them as soon as possible.
Your lawyer will advise you about the best way to fill out the forms etc. You should bear in mind that even your own insurance company has its best interests at heart rather than yours. As you can see here, the fine print of your policy can leave you out of pocket. So, when your lawyer advises you to be cautious and not volunteer certain information, make sure that you listen to them.