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What to Do After a Car Accident—Your Car Accident Checklist

Published by Mark Brynteson

Experiencing a car accident can be a distressing occurrence for everyone affected. In the aftermath, it is essential to be aware of the appropriate measures to take to safeguard yourself and others. Within this extensive guide, we provide a thorough car accident checklist, outlining the nine key steps you should be familiar with.

By following these steps and working with experienced Rockford car accident attorneys, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate the aftermath of an accident.

1. Determine If You Are Injured

After a car accident, it is important to evaluate your physical state. Examine yourself for any injuries, even if they appear to be minor. Due to the surge of adrenaline immediately after the accident, you may not immediately feel any pain or discomfort. It’s crucial to be aware of any potential injuries that may worsen over time and to promptly seek medical assistance.

2. Check on Others Involved in the Accident

After checking your injuries, make sure to also check on others involved in the accident. This includes passengers in your car, people in other cars, and any pedestrians or cyclists who were affected.

Approach each person carefully and politely, asking about their well-being without discussing what caused the accident. Remember, the most important thing at this stage is to prioritize the safety and well-being of everyone involved.

3. Move to Safety as Soon as Possible

If it is deemed safe, relocate all vehicles that were part of the accident to a secure area away from the road to prevent traffic obstruction and further accidents. If a vehicle is not operational, activate its hazard lights, place traffic cones or warning triangles if accessible, and exit the vehicle to locate a safe location to await assistance. If moving the vehicles is not possible, prioritize the safety of everyone involved and wait in a secure area.

4. Contact the Authorities

No matter how serious the accident is, it is important to get in touch with the police or the relevant local authorities to report the incident. Even in cases of minor accidents, having a police report can be crucial when filing an insurance claim or taking legal action. Call 911 and make sure to stay at the scene until the police arrive and provide them with an accurate description of the events that led to the accident.

5. Don’t Speak About the Accident

While you’re waiting for the police or other emergency services, it is important to maintain a calm demeanor and refrain from participating in discussions regarding fault or liability with other individuals involved.

It’s crucial to focus solely on the well-being of all parties and the exchange of necessary contact information. Additionally, it is vital to refrain from making any statements, apologies, or admissions of responsibility, as doing so could potentially compromise your legal rights.

6. Document as Much Information as Possible

When it comes to car accidents, it is crucial to have accurate documentation in order to safeguard your interests for potential insurance claims or legal proceedings. Make sure to collect the following details:

  • Contact information of all involved parties (including drivers, passengers, and other witnesses)
  • Vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers
  • Insurance information from all drivers involved
  • Time, date, and location of the accident
  • Weather and road conditions
  • Photos of the accident scene and damages to all vehicles involved
  • Police officer’s name and badge number

7. Seek Medical Attention

It is of utmost importance to seek medical care after a car accident, even if your injuries appear to be minor. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, may not be immediately noticeable but can lead to severe consequences if not treated promptly. Seeking prompt medical attention not only guarantees your health and safety but also serves as crucial evidence for potential insurance claims or legal proceedings.

8. Inform Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to inform them of the accident and begin the claims process. When communicating with your insurance provider about the incident, it is crucial to be truthful and provide accurate details. Failing to promptly and correctly report the accident may lead to your claim being denied or reduced.

9. Don’t Accept a Check or Sign a Release

Do not agree to accept a check or sign a release form provided by an insurance company unless you have a clear understanding of the coverage it provides. If you have legal representation, ensure that your attorney is informed about every correspondence, whether it be through mail, email, or phone, received from the insurance company.

Never underestimate the possibility that they will attempt to deceive you into jeopardizing your case without your attorney’s knowledge. Frequently, insurance companies will endeavor to persuade you to release “all claims” and mislead you into thinking that you are only resolving the property damage aspect of your case.

Prior to signing any documents, consult with a lawyer. If you already have legal representation, refrain from signing anything that your attorney is not informed about.

10. Remember, Insurance Companies See All

The auto insurance companies see all. Video and photo cameras are incredibly small these days. You can be photographed or videotaped anywhere at any time.

If you are injured enough to pursue an injury claim you cannot expect to do normal activities. Often, an accident victim will be genuinely injured, but they will slip up for a moment and “play through the pain” by doing something a healthy person would do.

They may be in excruciating pain while doing so, and their injuries may be completely justified, but on camera it will look like they are faking it. Such damning footage will devastate your case.

Reach Out to a Reputable Attorney

Remember, never has an insurance company made it a policy to play fair, pay you quickly, or to pay you the maximum recovery. They just don’t work that way, and one of the tactics they use to force you into accepting less than you should is by holding out on you.

They want to keep that money in the bank earning interest or liquid for investment purposes, and they have an experienced array of lawyers working to protect their interests. That’s why it’s important you have a trusted personal injury attorney fighting for your rights.

If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident, reach out to Brynteson Law Firm online or give us a call at 708-667-6868 for skilled legal representation.

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