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What To Do After a Car Accident: Checklist

No matter how safely you drive, auto accidents are unavoidable. How well you handle the aftermath of an accident could potentially help you settle your claim without issues and recover damages for any injuries you've suffered. If you're wondering what to do after a fender bender, the checklists below will help protect your interests after an accident.

Before the Accident: How To Prepare

Car accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. So, you should always carry the following necessary items in your car to avoid any penalties and inconvenience:

  1. Keep a copy of the motor vehicle accident checklists checklist in your vehicle.
  2. Have your insurance card, driver's license, and registration with you or in your vehicle at all times.
  3. Keep a safety kit in your vehicle.

What To Do at the Accident Scene

Experiencing any type of car accident can be frightening and overwhelming. It can be difficult to immediately think of what to do at the accident scene. But you should try your best to stay calm and cooperate with others. Here are some important steps to take at the accident scene to protect your rights:

  1. Stay at the scene. Take a deep breath and try not to panic.
  2. Do not leave the accident scene without completing the tasks on this list. A "hit-and-run" can be a criminal offense.
  3. Check yourself, other drivers, and passengers for injuries.
  4. Call the ambulance if anyone is in need of medical attention.
  5. Call the police if there are serious accident injuries, death, or serious property damage.
  6. Move the vehicles onto the side of the road and out of traffic.
  7. Turn on your vehicle's hazard lights.
  8. Take photos of the vehicle damage, license plate number, the other driver's license number, and the area surrounding the car crash on your cell phone to preserve as much evidence as you can.
  9. Exchange information with the other driver, including their name, phone number, address, insurance company name, and insurance policy number.
  10. Get the contact information of any witnesses at the scene of the accident, but do not give out personal information.
  11. You should take detailed notes of the accident. But don't sign any disclaimers or papers (unless it's for the police).
  12. Do not admit fault or discuss the incident until you have consulted an auto accident attorney.

Even if no one is injured, it's a good idea to call the police so they can document the accident. You can file a police report later, but it is good to do it immediately to record accurate information on the scene of the accident. When a police officer arrives, note their badge number in the event you need to follow up on your accident case.

Things To Do After Leaving the Accident Scene

After you leave the accident scene, there are additional steps you should immediately take to protect your rights and recover any damages you've suffered.

  1. Contact your auto insurance company and tell them what happened as soon as possible.
  2. Get a copy of the accident report filed by the police or other motorist.
  3. Keep detailed notes on your injuries and physical and mental conditions.
  4. Track your medical treatment and providers.
  5. Get a property damage valuation. Your insurance company may send an appraiser or insurance adjuster to assist you with this process.
  6. Contact a personal injury attorney to protect your rights before you provide any statements to the other driver or their insurance agent.

A car accident lawyer will provide legal advice to limit your liability, such as:

  • Advising whether to provide a recorded statement
  • Assisting you in negotiating with the driver's insurance company to receive full compensation for any damages you suffered
  • Managing scenarios where the other driver has no car insurance coverage or is underinsured
  • Handling the complex injury claims process

Discuss Your Car Accident Claim With a Lawyer

Handling the aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. Most of the time, your insurance company will give you directions to file an insurance claim. However, be wary of early settlement offers. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area today who can help you maximize the amount of damages you can recover.

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