What Happens After a Car Accident?
If you have ever been in an auto accident, you know how traumatizing and uncomfortable it can be. If you have never had this experience, it can be disorienting and potentially injurious to your being. Serious accidents can even be fatal, and many auto accidents result in permanent injuries and other disruptions in daily life. In short, an auto accident can affect other areas of your life besides your physical body. Your finances, medical insurance and expenses, family, and other factors come up in the event of an auto accident.
When an accident is life-changing, it can be hard to know what steps to follow to get the best outcome for you and your loved ones. If you are directly impacted by the event, you may be out of work and face financial issues too. This is why it is useful to remember certain things to do after you have been in an auto accident. Some steps to keep in mind after a car accident can help save you money and time if you wind up facing this scenario. Staying calm immediately after an accident is the first thing to remember and then you will be able to address other factors surrounding the accident.
After Effects of Auto Accidents
It can be very disorienting immediately after an accident but recovering physically is just part of the process. There may be other factors to deal with that impact your life including expenses and bills from medical institutions and auto repairs. Recovering both physically and financially may take some time depending on how severe the car accident was.
Many accidents will involve minor injuries and may not require a lot of recoveries to work through them. However, some accidents may require more recovery, and this should be considered. Serious accidents can leave your life forever altered and can affect employment as well as other areas of your life. It will be necessary to make a plan of action should you be involved in a serious auto accident.
Things to Avoid
While an auto accident can be disorienting and confusing, it is essential to remain calm while following certain steps to protect yourself. Don’t admit blame in the event of an accident for instance. This is important because you do not want to expose yourself to legal ramifications by admitting you were at fault when you were possibly not at fault. Something else that commonly happens is accidents don’t get reported. People do this for convenience’s sake, but it can be a bad idea that can impact you later if you need more proof of what happened during the accident. Another scenario to look out for is when insurance companies try to force a settlement. They may try to give you less compensation and you can wind up worse off for it. Having legal representation in these cases would help to build a better case to get a rightful outcome. Often it is better to let an attorney deal with insurance companies, so you do not have to.
Steps to Take After an Accident
- Look for injuries – This is usually the first step along with staying calm that people do. And with good reason. Car accidents can be very injurious, and injuries can quickly lead to fatalities. It is wise to look for injuries and address them as a priority.
- Get to a better area – If you have an accident in a high-traffic area, you may be safer getting to a more secure location with less noise and movement. This can help to stay calm as well. Speaking with involved parties will be easier in a better location too.
- Contact emergency services – If the accident is serious, contacting 911 should be on your priority list. It may make sense to contact authorities anyways to document the accident event. Accident reports and other documents may be needed later if there are legal disputes and for claim purposes.
- Gather documentation – This is an important step that can be very valuable later on. Many people may not consider it, but getting documentation such as pictures, eyewitnesses, location, and police reports will go a long way to building a solid case for compensation purposes.
- Exchange information with necessary parties – Communicating with other motorists involved in the crash is necessary to exchange information for insurance purposes. Always be reasonable and provide minimally needed information when dealing with other motorists. They have experienced an accident as well and may need help too.
- Determine insurance claim – You will likely need to file an accident claim with the insurance company depending on the severity of the accident. Sometimes, accidents are very minor and can be easily resolved. Other accidents may require large compensations and claims.
- Speak with attorneys – Involving legal counsel is usually not needed and maybe a last step after an auto accident. Most accidents can be easily resolved, but some may require the assistance of an attorney. If you reach this point, hiring a qualified attorney who knows about auto accidents is a good move.
- Statute of limitations – This is something people may not consider much. Filing a claim may have a statute of limitations in the state you live in, so it is important to keep this in mind. It is best to address an accident as soon as possible so you don’t face a situation where limitations have expired.
Dealing With the Legal Impacts
There can be legal ramifications involved in auto accidents that can be costly as well as emotionally draining to boot. Even minor accidents may turn into disputes that are not easy to resolve on your own. Doing so can create more stress and you may find it is not worth it. A personal injury attorney can help post-accident if there are legal matters to deal with. If you are injured, contacting an attorney is crucial for the best outcomes. At-fault parties will file claims and you will need to answer questions with insurance companies. Having documentation such as pictures and accident reports should be considered during an accident to protect yourself legally, if necessary.
Since serious auto accidents may involve many large medical bills and compensation for expensive property damage, a personal injury attorney will be critical for securing yourself should you be in an accident. Attorneys may be necessary to work on your behalf when dealing with insurance companies that act in bad faith too. There are many reasons to consider adding this step to the list of what to do after a car accident.
Contacting an Attorney
This is typically the last step that people think of after an auto accident, but in some cases, it should be one of the first things to do. An attorney can represent you and go to bat for you when there are legal matters and disputes to resolve. Without an attorney, you may find yourself with mounting medical expenses or legal bills if you are at fault.
Many auto accidents are minor and do not require much other than routinely exchanging information and filming normal claims. However, sometimes an attorney may be necessary to handle events that arise from an accident. You may encounter an insurance company that is disputing or denying circumstances or other factors of a claim. It may be that the at-fault party’s insurance company does not want to fairly compensate your claim. This may require an attorney to resolve the dispute. Police reports may be incorrect, and this is another way an attorney can help.
Other instances when having an attorney can be beneficial are when serious injuries and large medical expenses are involved. If other parties are at fault during an accident and there is no clear resolution, an attorney can step in to resolve disputes and seek compensation for your injuries. There are many reasons, outside of normal circumstances, that warrant the use of an attorney that you may consider if you find yourself in an auto accident one day.