Almost 50 % of car accidents in the US happen because of someone else’s negligence. No matter how careful you are, there’s always a good chance that you may be met with an accident!
According to car accident lawyer Walter Benenati, most people (even those who are otherwise calm and prudent) lose their ability to process information just after the incident. They often forget even the most basic protocol like calling emergency services or 911 and end up with poor claim settlements.
Read on to get a checklist of everything you should do in case you have met with a car accident.
Be Prepared for Accidents
Since it takes only a second of someone’s negligence to come crashing into your car, there are all the reasons why you should always keep an emergency checklist in your car at all times. Some of the essential items on this checklist are:
- Your driver’s license, permits, insurance papers, vehicle registration, and copy of your SSN. It also saves you from penalties even if there is no accident.
- An emergency medical kit with phone numbers of your close ones if someone has to call them.
- A copy of a car accident checklist itself so that you have it readily available in case of an accident.
Checklist to Follow at the Accident Spot
Before anything else, don’t panic. While it’s normal to feel intense emotions and physical pain just after an accident, it is very different to think clearly if your emotions are all over the place. So, first things first, get some water and calm your nerves. Here’s what you should do at the spot to ensure you get maximum legal benefits:
- Stay calm and don’t panic. It helps you think more clearly and perform the next steps better.
- Call 911 or paramedics if you or anyone else involved in the accident needs urgent medical attention.
- Get in touch with the police immediately after that. Police should be the first group to inspect and document the accident scene even if you file an FIR later.
- If the accident is blocking a traffic lane, remove it to the side (if possible) and turn on the hazard lights. If the damage is too much and you can’t move it, call for towing services and clear the passage.
Checklist for Insurance Claims
Once you know everyone is safe, it is time to initiate the insurance claim process:
- Contact your insurance provider and immediately report the incident.
- Collect a copy of the FIR.
- Collect as much photographic evidence and witness records as you can.
- Keep financial records of medical treatment and accident-related expenses.
Consult With Skilled Attorneys to Protect Your Rights
Meeting with an accident is a harrowing experience for everyone. But, going through the settlement process doesn’t have to be. Contact an experienced lawyer to discuss the merit of your case before recording statements with the insurance company. It is the best you can do to protect your rights and maximize your chances of winning.