What to Do If You Are in an Automobile Crash
Automobile crashes can happen in the blink of an eye, leaving you shaken, injured, and overwhelmed. In such a distressing situation, it’s crucial to know what steps to take to protect yourself and your rights. This blog will provide you with a comprehensive guide on what to do if you’re in an automobile crash, focusing on personal injury claims.
1. Ensure Safety First
The safety of everyone involved should be your top priority. Immediately after the crash, move your vehicle, if possible, to a safe location to prevent further collisions. Turn on hazard lights to warn other drivers, and if you can do so safely, check on the well-being of everyone involved, including passengers in both vehicles.
2. Call 911
Whether the crash is minor or severe, it’s essential to contact the authorities. Dial 911 to report the crash and request medical assistance if needed. A police report will be generated, which can be crucial for your insurance claim and any potential personal injury case.
3. Exchange Information
Exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the crash. This information should include:
- Names and contact information
- Insurance company and policy numbers
- Vehicle information (make, model, year, and license plate)
- Driver’s license number and state
4. Document the Scene
Use your smartphone or a camera to document the crash scene. Take photos of:
- Vehicle damage from various angles
- License plates of all vehicles involved
- Road conditions, traffic signals, and signs
- Skid marks and debris
- Any visible injuries
This documentation can be invaluable when filing a personal injury claim.
5. Obtain Witness Information
If there were any witnesses to the crash, collect their names and contact information. Eyewitness accounts can help corroborate your version of events and strengthen your case.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, may not show symptoms right away. A medical report will also provide a record of your injuries, which can be essential for your claim.
7. Notify Your Insurance Company
Promptly notify your insurance company about the crash, even if you were not at fault. Provide them with all the necessary information and cooperate fully with their investigation.
8. Consult an Attorney
If you sustained injuries in the crash, it’s advisable to consult a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights, guide you through the claims process, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. They can also represent you in court if necessary.
9. Preserve Evidence
Preserve all evidence related to the crash, including medical records, bills, repair estimates, and any correspondence with insurance companies. This documentation will be crucial for establishing the extent of your injuries and losses.
10. Be Cautious with Insurance Adjusters
Insurance adjusters may contact you to discuss your claim. Be cautious when speaking with them and avoid admitting fault or providing recorded statements without consulting your attorney. Insurance companies aim to minimize their payouts, and your words can be used against you.
11. Determine Liability
Liability in automobile crashes can be complex. It’s essential to determine who is at fault for the crash, as this will affect how your claim is processed. An attorney can help establish liability based on evidence and applicable laws.
12. Understand Your Damages
In a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for various damages, including:
- Medical expenses
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Your attorney can help you assess the full extent of your damages and build a strong case.
13. Negotiate a Settlement
Your attorney will negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurance company to reach a fair settlement. They will work to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
14. Consider Litigation
If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney may recommend taking your case to court. Litigation can be a lengthy and complex process, but it may be necessary to secure the compensation you need.
Being in an automobile crash is a stressful experience, but knowing what to do can make a significant difference in the outcome of your personal injury claim. Remember to prioritize safety, seek medical attention, document the scene, and consult with an attorney to protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses. With the right guidance and preparation, you can navigate the challenging aftermath of an automobile crash successfully.
Attorney Steven Blair and Perrault Blair Law Group offer extensive experience in representing the victims of automobile crashes and other personal injury claims. We are available 24/7 at all times to answer any questions and help with your personal injury needs which you may have. Call us today at 978.975.4100 to schedule your free consultation. PerraultBlairLaw.com.