8 Key Steps After a Car Accident
If you have been in a car accident, protect your rights by following these important steps:
- Stay calm. A car accident is a shock and the aftermath is stressful. But if you can remain calm and proceed in an orderly and business-like manner, you will help yourself immensely. Above all, be polite to others, including the other drivers and their passengers, and to any emergency response personnel who come to the scene. Do not make accusations, and do not get into arguments.
- Check for injuries. First assess whether you are in pain and whether you have been injured. Then find out if any of your passengers have been hurt. Approach the other vehicle if you can and ask whether its occupants are OK. If anyone has been injured, phone 911 immediately for emergency medical assistance. When emergency responders arrive, follow their instructions.
- See a doctor. If you did not get medical care immediately after the accident, you should schedule a medical appointment as soon as possible. Some symptoms of serious injuries appear hours or days after an accident. In addition, if you make a legal claim, records of your medical treatment will help document your claim and your expenses.
- Document your accident. Use your cell phone or a camera to get photos of the crash. Take pictures of the cars and where they collided with each other or other objects. Photograph body damage, interior damage, skid marks, broken glass, etc. Get photos of any visible injuries. Write down or record the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident. Write down or record notes about how your accident happened while your memory is fresh and accurate.You should save any and all information about your accident and injuries. Create a file for medical records and bills and for the receipts for any other expenses you pay because of your accident.
- Gather information for police. Get your registration card, insurance card, driver’s license, license plate number and car’s make and model ready for the police. When a police officer responds to your accident, he or she will likely gather this information and share it with all parties involved in the wreck. If the other driver asks to exchange information, politely suggest that you wait for the police to record the relevant information and provide it to each of you.
- Cooperate with police. Answer the responding police officer’s questions honestly and politely, but answer only what is asked. Do not volunteer any information or opinions. Don’t admit fault and do not accuse the other drivers of anything. Ask how to get a copy of the accident report, and get one as soon as you can.
- Call your insurance company. You need to report the accident to your insurance carrier to make a claim. Follow their instructions, such as getting multiple repair estimates, but decline to record a statement or to sign anything. Don’t say anything that downplays the extent of your injuries or losses. Don’t agree to any settlement offer made at this point without first consulting with a lawyer. If the other driver’s insurance company contacts you, refer them to your insurance carrier or lawyer.
- Contact an experienced car accident lawyer. North Carolina’s insurance laws are complex, but insurance company adjusters and lawyers know them well. A car accident lawyer who has investigated accidents in Western North Carolina can help you obtain a proper insurance settlement from your carrier, or help you seek compensation from the other driver’s insurer. A car accident attorney at The Elmore Law Firm, P.A., will provide an initial consultation about your case for free. You should protect your rights by contacting an experienced North Carolina car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your car wreck.
Talk to a Western North Carolina Car Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Western North Carolina car accident, the personal injury lawyer at The Elmore Law Firm, P.A., can help you. You may be eligible to obtain compensation for the injuries and losses your accident has caused.
Contact us at 828-253-1492 or fill out our online form to speak with a dedicated North Carolina car accident lawyer who has years of experience helping car crash victims just like you. The initial consultation is free, and you’ll have no obligation whatsoever afterward.