How many people a year ask “what to do after a car accident?” You can bet the farm it’s a lot. Why? Because over 5 million people a year get into a car crash according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and those are just police-reported accidents. Chances are, if you found this page, you are in the same predicament. You may be wondering how to get your life back on track and find out who is responsible for paying medical bills or replacing damaged property. The good news is that there are options available to help you recover from an auto injury, even if the car accident was your fault.
A car accident attorney can offer many services to people who have been in a car accident that they can’t get anywhere else. Accidents cause a range of damages from physical issues like injuries and vehicle damage to emotional damages that take a mental toll on you as you try to get back on your feet. Attorneys help you make sense of your options related to the accident’s damages. In addition, an attorney can help you with insurance companies, notorious for treating accidents like it's potentially your fault or trying to minimize your pain and suffering. A good attorney should lighten your load. The last thing that the attorney can do is make sure that you get the compensation that you need to move forward and try to put things back together. Insurance companies and claims adjusters protect their profits by lowballing their payouts, so a good car accident lawyer can make the difference in getting paid properly.
Immediately after a car crash, you should call 911 and stay at the scene until emergency personnel arrives, especially if someone has been injured or if it looks as if more than $1,000 of damage has been done to the vehicles involved. If you are involved in a car accident, be careful when getting out of the vehicle. Make sure to look both ways before stepping onto the road.
After a car accident, it is important to stay calm and avoid any movement. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or faint, do not move until medical help arrives. If you have been injured, do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. Instead, call 911 for emergency assistance.
After an accident, don't volunteer information. Be honest about what happened in response to their questions. Don't lie or give them any false information. If you lie to your insurance company, they could deny coverage or raise your rates.
There are two types of reports to make after an accident: reporting to your insurer and reporting to the police. Different insurers have different reporting requirements, but typically, your insurance company will require that you report an accident within 24 to 48 hours of the accident. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences depending on your insurance policy. They may even cancel coverage. In Washington state, if there are no significant injuries and property damage is under $1,000, you do not have to file a police report. If the accident meets the requirements for reporting, you have 4 days to submit your report. Even if the accident does not meet the requirements for reporting, it may still be wise to do so, especially if you were not at fault because car accident injuries can take a few days to be fully felt. An accident report is an important part of establishing the facts of your case.
Yes, call your insurer after an accident even if you weren’t at fault. Reporting accidents is often a policy requirement. Failure to report within your policy’s stated timeline can result in increased rates, coverage cancellation, or the insurer claiming your injuries resulted from some other incident.
In order to file a claim with your auto insurer, you'll first need to gather all the information required to complete the form. Make sure to keep a copy of any documents related to the collision, such as police reports, witness statements, photographs, etc., available when speaking with your adjuster. Once you've gathered all the necessary documentation, you can begin filing your claim. In most cases, filing a claim online is the fastest and easiest option.
Before making any decisions regarding your claim, it’s wise to consult with an attorney. They can review the details of your case and advise you on whether or not you're eligible for additional compensation.
An at-fault car crash means that you were responsible for causing the accident. This may be because you were speeding, texting, driving drunk, distracted, etc. If this was your fault, you should take responsibility for the damage to your vehicle and injuries to yourself and others.
Call 911. This is mandatory.
Stay calm. Don't panic. Don’t flee the accident.
Get checked out by paramedics and/or medical personnel.
Exchange insurance info. Find out if anyone in the other vehicle was injured.
Cooperate with the police as they fill out their accident report.
Try to avoid admitting fault on the scene. You may not know the full facts of the accident. Let the facts come to light naturally.
Report your accident to your insurer.
Seek medical care as needed to avoid long-term injuries.