Car accidents are common traumatic events. Their results range from minor inconveniences to fatalities. Being able to walk away from a car accident is a blessing, but not walking away correctly can be a curse. Knowing what to do immediately after a car accident can make a world of difference in regard to your safety, your legal standing, and processing insurance claims.
Taking one set of actions after a crash as opposed to another can set off a chain reaction that can work for you or against you. You can contact a personal injury attorney before or after a car accident. They can help you explore what legal options may be available to you.
Safe Beats Sorry
The "safety first" is supreme wisdom in post-crash moments. You'll want to check for injured persons and, if needed, call emergency medical responders to the scene. Should any vehicles be obstructing traffic, move them to the shoulder to prevent further accidents, but only when it's safe. Use hazard lights, warning triangles, or flares to direct traffic away from the scene.
Seek Medical Care
Even in the absence of obvious injuries, seek an immediate medical evaluation. Some injuries won't show themselves immediately. A medical examination can identify latent injuries before they worsen or become symptomatic. Medical records also act as helpful evidence when filing a personal injury claim.
Call the Cops
Contacting the police is advisable for even the smallest fender benders. The police will write a report, which can come in handy later. Police reports are official documents that record incident details. This can help when dealing with insurance claims. Just give the officers accurate and detailed information about what happened.
Trade contact and insurance information with whoever else was involved in the accident. Names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy details, and vehicle registration information should all be collected. You can do so without accepting fault or assigning blame at the scene. Stick to the facts and exercise brevity when communicating with others.
Take pictures or videos of the scene. Capture vehicle damage, license plates, street signs, and proof of the road conditions. Thankfully, these days, almost everyone has a smartphone or camera. This documentation can function as key evidence during insurance-related and legal proceedings.
Dealing with Witnesses
If there are any witnesses, collect their contact information. Witness statements can be good support for determining fault and can also prove valuable during disputes with insurance companies.
Notify Your Insurance
Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Provide detailed and accurate information about the incident. Avoid discussing fault beyond what's necessary. Your insurance company will administer claims processing and talk with the other parties' insurers.
Follow Up on Medical Care
If you receive medical treatment, always follow up with any recommended care or rehabilitation plans. Consistent medical documentation is good for your well-being and potential legal claims.
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Even beyond the immediate physical injuries, the consequences of car accidents for older adults can be profound. Fractures that take longer to heal, cognitive decline exacerbated by trauma, and newfound mobility limitations can necessitate ongoing assistance. In these situations, what was once a carefree retirement suddenly becomes a landscape of daunting decisions and financial uncertainties.
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