Being in a car accident is never a pleasant experience. Millions of accidents happen around the world every year, leaving people injured, out of pocket, and stressed about what happens next. In America alone, there are around 6 million accidents per year, that’s almost 16,500 per day, making auto accidents all too common.
The issue many people face is not knowing exactly what to do after being involved in a car accident. Whether your accident is big or small, you need to follow the 6 steps below to ensure you are protected, healthy, and receive any insurance payouts you deserve. So, if you’ve been in an accident, read on to find out everything you need to do.
1 – Call The Cops
One of the most important things you need to do post-accident is to call the cops. Even in the case of a small accident, it’s important to report it to the authorities. As a Las Vegas rear-end collision attorney explains, “Even if you don’t think that anyone has been seriously injured, you need to file a police report.” It’s important because the police report will then form a big part of any ongoing investigation and insurance claim. You should make sure you get a copy of the police report, as it will become a key part of the evidence.
2 – Seek Medical Attention
Again, even if you don’t think anyone is severely injured, you must seek medical attention. In some cases, emergency services may be called to the scene. If they are not, you should still get a check-up immediately. After all, your health should be your number one priority. There may be underlying injuries that you have not yet felt or noticed that could cause serious issues further down the line, so speaking to a medical professional is vitally important. Also, your medical expenses will almost certainly be covered by insurers or any lawsuit later on.
3 – Find a Lawyer
Once you’re healthy – or at least checked over – you need to reach out to a specialist lawyer. These lawyers need to be specifically trained and experienced in the field of personal injury and auto accident claims. They know everything there is to know about these issues at a local and national level, making them the best-placed team to help you move your case forward. Most great accident attorneys will see you in an initial meeting for free, meaning you can sit down and discuss your case with them without having to spend a dime. They will usually take their fees after the case is settled.
4 – Inform Your Insurer
Some insurers have a limit on how quickly you need to inform them of any accident and/or potential claim. In many cases, it can be as little as 7 days post-accident. Failure to report damages to your car or person in time can invalidate your policy, making it impossible to seek a settlement. Insurers like to pay out as little as they possibly can, which is where an expert attorney can help you get the most possible out of them.
5 – Gather Evidence
If the accident was caused by a defective vehicle or an irresponsible driver, you and your lawyers will now need to gather evidence to prove this is the case, in the hope of claiming against them or their insurance. This will include the police report and any CCTV or other evidence your lawyers can subpoena for. They will do everything they can to build you the strongest case possible.
6 – Claim a Settlement
At this point, you and your legal team will enter negotiations with either your insurer, another driver’s insurer, or directly with a third party (such as an uninsured driver). Your team will have built a case to try and maximize any potential settlement claim, but the opposition will likely try to negotiate this figure down. It is up to you and your attorneys to agree on a fee that will be suitable to help cover your injuries, lost working time, damage to your vehicle, personal health issues, or anything else related to the case. Your legal team will never accept a settlement offer without your approval, so you can be certain they will pass on every communication to you.
After all this, you should be in a much better place. Hopefully, your medical issues are minor and treatable, but, even if they aren’t, you’ll now have a large chunk of financial support to help get you through the tough times ahead. The police, medics, and lawyers are all here to help you and make sure you are safe, well, and reimbursed for any expenses.