Being involved in a car accident is a horrible experience. Luckily, most of us know what to do in the immediate aftermath of a crash; stay at the scene, check people aren’t injured, call the emergency services if they are, report the incident to the police if necessary and exchange details with the other drivers involved.
It doesn’t stop there though, unfortunately. Even after you’ve left the scene and you feel fit and healthy if a little unnerved, you need to take measures to protect yourself from problems that may develop down the line. These problems range from discrepancies in what happened, possible medical treatment that could arise from a delayed injury and even identity theft.
Here are six steps to take to protect yourself after a car accident.
Take photos of the accident
Photographic evidence of any damage that your vehicle or the other party’s incurred during the accident can be incredibly useful down the line. They might try and say that the damage you are claiming for wasn’t present in the aftermath of the incident or they could try and claim for far more than the what was caused to their car. By taking photos, you’ll be acquiring all the evidence you need about what exactly happened, and you’ll be protecting yourself should there be any discrepancies once insurance companies become involved.
Don’t hand over your driver’s license
While you do need to give the other driver your name, address and phone number to pass onto their insurance company, they do not need to see your driver’s license. You wouldn’t let a random stranger take a copy or picture of such an important document, and although you’ve had a crash, the other party remains a stranger as you do not know or trust them personally. Over 41 million Americans have been the victim of identity theft with some not even realizing it. You should be cautious about giving anybody access to government ID or your personal image unless they are an officer of the law.
Inform your insurance company
You might think that the incident was so minor that you don’t need to inform your insurance company, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If the other parties involved press ahead with a claim, it’s best that your insurers are aware of what has happened already and can, therefore, argue your case or offer a counterclaim. You should let your insurers know of the accident as soon as possible, explaining accurately what happened and any injuries you received. Be as accurate as possible in your recollections of the accident. If your insurance company finds out you’ve lied about any aspect of the incident, then they could deny you coverage. Being clear and truthful can help you in the long run, even if you know yourself to have been largely at fault.
Keep track of your medical treatment
Car accidents in the United States cost around $230.6 billion per year which works out at an average of $820 per person. That’s a huge sum which you may be able to claim back, as long as you have clear records of any treatment you’ve received. Request copies of all medical reports and bills to help you prove your medical expenses and keep a record of how your injuries impact on daily life, including days at work missed due to pain and suffering and any routine activities you are now unable to complete.
Consult an attorney
If somebody was injured in the accident, then your best course of action is to consult with a specialist car accident attorney, Toledo, oh such as those from The Schuller Law Office. They can help to maximize your recovery if you were injured or better defend yourself if you are at fault. You may not have to worry about fees either – many accident attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means they only receive a fee out of any damages awarded or settlement received.
Don’t talk about the accident with anyone
You should exercise extreme caution when discussing the accident and only talk about it with your attorney, your insurance company or the police. If another insurance company or person calls to try and engage you in conversation about what happened, politely decline and ask them to speak to your attorney or insurance company. You should also inform your lawyer and insurer about the call. Admitting liability by mistake can have huge repercussions down the line, so it’s best to say nothing at all and let the experts handle it.
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