Car accidents can be a scary situation to deal with. Aside from the initial shock, there are several important steps that you should follow that will ensure that everyone involved is given the proper care. In addition, these steps can help protect you against unintentional admissions of liability and improve your chances of receiving a satisfactory level of compensation.
1. Remain at the Scene.
The first step is to stay at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident before it is appropriate to do so can be considered a hit-and-run, which has serious criminal penalties. It is important to check on everyone involved in the crash and to get medical attention for anyone who has been hurt.
2. Call the Police.
Once you have established that everyone involved is alright or if medical attention has been summoned, your next priority is to call the police. Law enforcement officers can help you assess the damage and will file a police report for the incident. Always record the names and badge numbers of all officers involved, as they may be needed later.
3. Exchange Information with Involved Parties.
After the police have arrived, exchange information with all other parties involved. This involves names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plates, and insurance information. Remain polite and calm during this time, as many people are likely to be emotional and on edge directly following a collision. With that being said, however, do not apologize for anything! You could unintentionally be admitting fault for an accident before it has been determined. In fact, it is advisable that you do not discuss the accident with anyone except the police, your insurance company, and your lawyer.
4. Talk to the Witnesses & Gather Evidence.
Next, speak to witnesses of the crash and write down what they claim to have seen. If they are locals, ask them if they’ve ever seen a similar accident in the same location. This information can help you later when determining fault for the accident. Take photographs of the damage after the accident, as they can help your insurance adjuster determine how much compensation you are eligible for.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company.
Informing your insurance company immediately of your involvement in an accident is your next priority. Tell them the truth about what happened, as lying about the facts of the accident can lead to your claim being denied along with other penalties. Review any police reports that have been filed to determine if any traffic laws have been violated by you or the other driver(s).
Once your insurance knows about the accident, they can provide you with a property damage valuation. If they don’t offer you a satisfactory amount, don’t lose hope. Acquire secondary repair estimates from a third party and inform your insurance adjuster of what you think you should receive. If an agreement still can’t be made, hiring a personal injury lawyer is strongly advised.
6. Retain a Personal Injury Lawyer.
Not only can it be difficult to deal with your own insurance company, you may be met with resistance from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. This is another reason why the involvement of an attorney is key. We at Plyler Law Firm, P.A. believe you deserve a fair settlement and we are here to help you pursue exactly that, and not a penny less. We may be able to help you recover compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Fayetteville personal injury attorney from our firm today to start moving towards receiving compensation. A free case evaluation is the best way to get started towards retaining trusted legal representation for your case.