What To Do In A Crash: A Step By Step Guide
By Zac Pingle, Staff Writer
Being involved in a car crash is stressful for everyone involved. With the proper knowledge, most minor crashes can be resolved without hassle and with minimal stress. When a serious injury is involved, further action to resolve, but can still end to your satisfaction if the proper steps are taken. The following article is intended to inform you of the steps you need to take in order to protect your rights to compensation and to aid in resolving your case.
Step One: Do Not Panic
The moment after a crash can be the most stressful, but is also the most important. Pull over to a safe area after the crash if possible, and do not exit the car until you are positive that it is safe to do so.
Check yourself, and any other passengers, for any serious injuries before you exit your vehicle. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Panicking or acting out of anger will only make the situation worse. Safety is always the most important thing to keep in mind after a crash. Call 911 if you believe that you or anyone else is hurt. Exit your vehicle and make sure that the occupants in the other car are okay as well.
Step Two: Report the Crash
You will need a police report of the crash to help your case. You need to call the police or state trooper in order to report the incident. Note that this may take about 15 to 20 minutes if the situation is not an emergency.
When the police are taking statements, make sure that they take yours as well. If for some reason you are unable to give a statement to the police, you may make a statement later at the police department upon request, but you should always discuss this with your attorney before doing so. It is also important to gather contact information from witnesses of the crash that can testify if necessary.
Step Three: Photograph Evidence
The camera on your phone will be the most important tool you have after a crash. While you are waiting for the police to arrive at the scene, take as many pictures of the scene as you can. Take pictures of all the damage to you, your passengers, your car and any road conditions that may have lead to the crash (like a patch of ice on the road or glass that punctured a tire). You should take photos of the damage to the other vehicle and the different angles of the entire scene. There is no such thing as taking too many photos after a crash.
Step Four: Claiming Insurance
Gather insurance information from the other driver involved in the crash, and remember to be polite and respectful when you do. You do not have to answer any questions other than the questions asked by the police. Refrain from telling the other driver that you are medically okay before you are inspected by a paramedic. Make sure to visit a doctor after your crash, even if you feel fine.
90 percent of insurance claims do not make it to a court hearing. So, it is very likely that you will resolve your insurance claim in the form of a settlement. However, you should contact an auto collision attorney as soon possible after your crash. This will make sure that you receive the compensation to which you are legally entitled. Just the act of having an attorney present could increase the amount of your settlement.
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