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The Dos and Don'ts: How to Handle a Car Accident

 Being involved in a car accident can have detrimental effects not only on your physical fitness but, more so, on your mental health. This is because, apart from the physical injuries brought about by the accident, you may suffer from trauma that needs to be addressed appropriately. Aside from this, you may also have to deal with financial struggles because of the accident. To aid you in overcoming the challenges of a road mishap, this article highlights the dos and don'ts of handling a car accident.

The Dos

  • Report the Accident

One of the primary things you need to do when encountering a road accident is to report the incident to the proper authorities immediately. If you are wondering what to do if you’ve been rear-ended or encountered a head-on collision, contacting emergency services as soon as possible is best. This means calling 911 to report the crash and, in parallel, requesting medical assistance, particularly if anybody is seriously harmed or injured. 

When the police arrive, they will likely conduct an initial investigation to figure out the accident's root cause. From there, they will generate the necessary police report that contains all the information you may need, such as the contact numbers of the other party involved and the witnesses who saw the incident first-hand. Ensure that you get a copy of this police report because you can use this to support your claim later on.

  • Gather Evidence

Another thing that you need to do when you face a road mishap is to gather as many pieces of evidence as you can. Apart from the police report you can obtain from the authorities, you can also take photos of the scene to corroborate your side of the story. Take pictures of your vehicle from all angles to show the extent of the damage and the potential cause of the accident based on how the cars collided.

It would be best if you also tried to capture what the road or weather conditions were like to give a clear picture of what may have caused the road mishap. If necessary, you can use these photos later to support your claim or as evidence in court. Take the time to exchange contact details with the other party involved in the accident. You may need to get in touch with them later on for a proper settlement. Alongside this, you should also get the contact information of any witnesses to the scene.

  • Consult a Lawyer

Next, you may need to consult a lawyer to help you overcome the car accident. Regarding car accidents, legal matters are often involved, which is why you need an attorney on your side. They can help you navigate the intricacies of the laws and regulations surrounding car crashes and ensure that your best interests are upheld. However, getting the right lawyer for these cases would be best. This means opting for the services of a legal advocate specializing in personal injury law, which is the category that car accident cases fall under.

It is also a good idea to engage with a legal advocate practicing their profession near the accident. They are the ones who know the nuances of the laws within that jurisdiction very well. Remember that specific regulations may vary slightly from one area to another, which means that the particular car accident laws where the accident happened may be inapplicable in another state. Also, check whether the legal practitioner has extensive years of handling cases such as yours to give you the confidence that they know the proper strategies to handle car accident cases.

The Don'ts

  • Downplay Your Injuries

A big no when it comes to car accidents is downplaying your injuries because you feel like you are not seriously hurt. When it comes to these road incidents, sometimes, there are certain types of injuries that don't manifest until a few days or even weeks later. This is why you should have yourself checked, first by the emergency responders, then based on what they may recommend, by a specialist. When you see a doctor, not only will your injuries be addressed appropriately, but you will also have medical records that can back up your claim later on. These documents can also be significant evidence should your case be escalated to the court. Hence, apart from the medical records, ensure that you also keep a copy of all your medical bills.

  • Admit Fault

Ensure that you never admit fault to anyone after the accident. Remember that even a simple apology can be deemed an admission of fault. For this reason, you must be cautious of communicating with the other party involved in the accident, the police, and the insurance company. When exchanging contact details with the other party, be straight to the point and obtain the information you need without providing any other unnecessary details or initiating small talk. Similarly, when you talk to the police, ensure that you stick to the facts of the accident, offering only the information asked.

  • Accept Settlement Immediately

Finally, never accept a settlement immediately. It would be best to allow your lawyer to look at the settlement offer before you agree on anything or sign any document. This is because most insurance companies may lowball you by offering a certain amount far less than you deserve. When you seek the help of your lawyer, they will ensure that every detail stated in the settlement offer will be fair and beneficial to help you recover from the incident. They will also be able to review any clauses that may deem you ineligible to file for further claims, which may be necessary in some instances.

When you are involved in a car accident, there are several things that you need to do, such as report the incident to the proper authorities, gather sufficient evidence, and consult a lawyer. In parallel, you must remember to avoid things such as downplaying your injuries or admitting fault. You should also never accept a settlement offer immediately. Remember these things if you encounter a road mishap to ensure you get just compensation, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

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