According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), car accidents happen every 60 seconds, equalling close to 5.25 million accidents across the U.S. every year. A car accident can turn your life upside down, and knowing what to do right after can be unclear. Though a car crash can be disorienting, it is crucial to understand the steps to protect yourself. Our Ohio personal injury team outlines the steps to take after a not-at-fault car accident and how to prepare for a personal injury claim.
After a car accident, it is vital to assess the situation and ensure you and your passengers are protected from further harm. The first thing to take notice of is your safety. To ensure everyone's safety, you may take the following precautions:
- If possible, move your vehicle away from the flow of traffic
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Check for injuries
- Keep calm
If you or your passager require medical attention, call 911. Do not leave the premises if you find yourself in a hit-and-run situation. Chasing after the at-fault driver can be dangerous., Instead, contact law enforcement and report the incident.
Call The Police
Even if it's a minor accident, a police report can be invaluable in the claims process. Having an official police report will help you hold the at-fault driver accountable for the damages and costs related to the accident. The officer will ask each party questions on what occurred —be polite, concise, and honest.
Pictures and video can be beneficial as evidence for your personal injury case. It can also be of great assistance if disputes arise about what occurred. It is recommended you take pictures and videos of:
- Damage to your vehicle
- The position of the vehicles involved
- License plates of the vehicles involved
- The surrounding area where the accident occurred
If there are witnesses to the car crash, don't let them get away! Make sure to take down their names and contact information. If you cannot document due to injury, you can, later on, find out if surveillance cameras or traffic cameras captured the accident.
Exchange Insurance Information
While you wait for law enforcement to arrive, exchange insurance information with the at-fault driver. Make sure to get their name, phone number, address, insurance company, policy number, driver's license number, and license plate number for the driver of each vehicle. Remember, never admit fault. Something as simple as "I'm sorry" can be construed as evidence of liability and be used as leverage against you.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It's essential to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Filing a claim with your insurance will help expedite getting assistance such as medical coverage. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation. That said, we understand that dealing with insurance companies, especially after a wreck, can be overwhelming.
Luckily, you do not have to deal with insurance companies on your own. A personal injury lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance companies involved and provide you with the support and guidance you will need. A lawyer will:
- Evaluate your case and determine the amount you may receive as settlement
- Collect evidence to prove the seriousness of your injuries
- Handle all insurance negotiations to ensure you receive fair compensation
- Prepare for litigation in case the defendant's insurance company does not offer an appropriate settlement amount
The simple act of having legal representation can make insurance companies take your claim more seriously and allow for a quicker process.
Get Legal Representation
A car accident can have a massive impact on your health and finances. Dealing with insurance companies by yourself can be time-consuming and complicated. At Freking Myers & Reul LLC you will get the support you need from an experienced personal injury team that will ensure you get the legal guidance and settlement you deserve.
To schedule a consultation with our team, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (513) 866-8816!