If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you know how stressful it can be. It can leave you shocked and upset, perhaps a little angry and leave you confused as to what you should do next. Your head is spinning and unless you’ve been in this situation before and you’re generally a very cool and calm person, most people will probably feel overwhelmed by it all. However, as terrible as the circumstances are, you really need to do a few things to sort out the whole affair. Here are five things you must remember if you’ve been involved in a car accident.
1. Keep Calm
This is admittedly easier said than done, however, it’s important to remember to stay calm. Take a few deep breaths as it’s so easy to panic. Make sure that you’re alright and not seriously hurt and if you’re not, make sure that anyone else in your car is also not badly hurt. If you find that someone is hurt, you need to call 911 and wait for medical help. Though it might be tempting to perform first aid on an injured party, try to refrain from doing this as it can cause more harm to someone. Just sit tight and medical aid will be there shortly.
2. Examine The Scene
If you’re alright enough to do so, check out the scene slowly and carefully. Most people have cell phones with a camera. Take some photographs of the cars involved in the accident. If road conditions played a part in the accident, make sure to get photographs of these conditions as well. All of this is vital information in the event of any legal action arising from the accident. This visual evidence will also help a car accident lawyer, should you hire one (and you should, as you’ll see later).
3. Exchange Information With Other Parties
Depending on how many cars were involved, make sure to exchange information with the other driver or drivers. If there were passengers, make sure to get their (basic contact) information as well. If there were any witnesses, get their contact information so that they can be reached if need be, when the time arises. The information you require from drivers is as follows:
- Phone number
- License information
- Insurance company information
- Insurance policy number
4. Do NOT Admit To Anything
If all parties involved are not seriously hurt, you will have to speak to each other. There’s the obvious exchanging of information, however, conversations could lead to other things. It could get pretty heated with finger-pointing and expletives bandied about. Even if you are at fault and the other party screams at you and makes you feel guilty, remember the very first thing; stay calm. Take a deep breath and don’t say anything, especially things like “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault” or anything similar that makes you sound guilty. Be very, very careful. This could actually come back and hurt you. Don’t offer the other party any money (if you’re offered money, do not accept it).
5. Contact Insurance And A Lawyer
You will need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. The same goes for a car accident lawyer. The sooner you do this, the better. If you contact a lawyer, make sure that he or she specifically deals with car accidents. The lawyer will know all about dealing with insurance companies and can advise you on what to say and when to say it. Sometimes an insurance company can get to you first and if you say something that you should not, it could hurt your case. A car accident lawyer can get you the best outcome in these circumstances.
An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to help you with many aspects in cases like these. For example, did you know that you can still get medical benefits and other monetary assistance even if you were at fault? There are so many benefits you still may be legally entitled to, no matter who was at fault. So don’t try to handle this on your own. You can move forward with confidence with good, experienced, legal help.