Most people know that driving is an inherently dangerous activity. There are about 10 million motor vehicle accidents in the United States every year, from minor fender benders to serious collisions.
The National Safety Council estimates the average driver will experience a car accident once every 17 years or so.
You may not be able to avoid a car accident, but knowing what to do after a collision can help you keep a cool head and protect your legal rights.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it’s important to speak to an Annapolis car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
1. Get medical help: Your health is your top priority after a car accident. Some people attempt to “shake off” pain or injuries after a collision. This is not a time to tough it out. Declining medical help could exacerbate any injuries. Failing to see a doctor could also compromise your personal injury case.
2. Stay calm: A car accident can leave anyone feeling shaken up and stressed. However, it’s important to stay calm and focused. If you lose your cool after an accident, you’re likely to hurt your case by missing important steps, such as taking photos of the scene.
3. Contact the police: The police will prepare a police report, which is important evidence for any potential personal injury case.
4. Take photos: Smartphones have made it possible for car accident victims to do their own detective work. With nearly 70 percent of Americans owning a smartphone, it’s no surprise these devices have drastically changed personal injury cases.
If your injuries permit, use your phone to take photos of the scene. Include photos of your injuries, the inside and outside of your car, the state of the road, and the weather conditions at the time of the accident.
5. Talk to witnesses: If bystanders or other motorists observed the collision, ask them to record a statement of their observations. You should also obtain their contact information, in case your attorney needs to follow up with them as your case progresses.
6. Don’t make statements about who is at fault: It’s important to be polite and cooperative when speaking to the police, emergency personnel, and the other driver, but avoid making any statements about who caused this accident.
The insurance company is looking for ways to minimize the value of your claim. If you admit you were responsible for the accident, this could seriously damage your case.
7. Get the other driver’s information: Don’t rely on the police or anyone else to obtain the other motorist’s address, phone number, and insurance policy information.
8. Speak to a car accident lawyer: As soon as possible, get in touch with a car accident lawyer about your case. Because car accidents are so common, many people assume the legalities behind them are routine and easy.
This assumption is incorrect. Every case is different, and many car accidents are incredibly complicated. Protect your rights by working with a lawyer from the start.
9. Notify your insurance carrier of the accident: Insurance companies require their policyholders to notify them when an accident occurs. When you report your accident, keep your statements short, brief, and fact-oriented.
The insurance company may try to get you to admit fault or divulge details about your injuries. Your doctor is the expert when it comes to the nature and severity of your injuries. Avoid speculating about the extent of your injuries – leave the medical diagnoses up to your doctor.
10. Don’t settle with the insurance company: Insurance companies are not in the business of making friends with their policyholders, regardless of what their clever and entertaining commercials claim.
They are not on your side, and they are not your neighbors. Insurance companies are concerned with making money, and they make far more when they can deny and undervalue their policyholders’ claims.
If your insurer offers you a settlement, it is likely to be far less than what you would have received had you worked with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Call an Annapolis Car Accident Lawyer about Your Case
It’s normal to have questions after a car accident. Put your mind at ease by speaking to a knowledgeable Annapolis car accident lawyer about your options. Schedule a free consultation today.