According to NHTSA, about 42,915 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2021, which was a 10.5 percent uptick from 2020. Worldwide, about 1.3 million people die in car accidents. Of course, exponentially more people survive their injuries.
Getting into an automobile accident is nothing short of terrifying, and the healing process can be quite difficult. Your injuries can require a lot of time off work and amount to some seriously expensive medical bills. It can feel unfair when you were not the at-fault driver.
There are things you can do starting right after the accident occurs that can ensure you get the damages awarded that you deserve. Here are five steps you should take after getting into an auto accident.
Stay at the Scene and Call 911
Even if you aren’t injured, stay on the scene and check on everyone else involved in the collision. Do not try to move anyone by yourself. Instead, ensure that everyone – and all vehicles – are out of the way of oncoming traffic and flip on your vehicle’s hazard lights.
In some states, those involved in an accident involving injury, death, a hit-and-run, an intoxicated driver, or property damage over $500 need to immediately report it to law enforcement. Be sure to get an official police report indicating any at-fault drivers and that the officer(s) at the scene get insurance details for everyone. Take down that officer’s name and badge number if they don’t offer you their business card. Avoid negotiating payments with other parties and report the crash yourself within ten days of the accident in case the officer fails to do so.
Get Ample Documentation
Get insurance info for every driver involved in the incident as well as their names, contact details, drivers’ license numbers, car makes/models, and license plate numbers. Avoid making public statements (such as Facebook posts) since there could be a construal of liability on your part. Oral and written statements alike should be avoided, including those made on social media.
Take pictures of damage done to all vehicles involved and pertinent environmental details, such as the stop sign/light, the intersection, and so forth. Also, get contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident.
Call Your Auto Insurance Company
Some states have no-fault laws when it comes to insurance policies. This means your insurance company covers lost income and medical expenses no matter who was at fault. In these states, drivers are required to carry some level of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Of course, there are still drivers in these states who are uninsured.
When you call your insurance company, be completely honest with them. Only speak to your insurance company, and let them do the job of talking to the insurance companies of other drivers. Beware of any settlement offers from those companies and consult a personal injury lawyer before you decide to accept any settlement offer.
Get Checked Out by a Doctor
Always get checked by a doctor after an auto accident, even if you just have whiplash or minor scrapes and bruises. You will need documentation from your doctor, as well as medical bills and other relevant records detailing how the accident has impacted your quality of life.
Hire an Auto Accident Attorney
Stop wondering why you should hire a personal injury lawyer if you are injured in a cab accident – you can, and should, do so. Some states have statutes of limitations on when you can file a lawsuit against an at-fault private party involved in an auto accident. For example, in Florida, you have four years to file the suit.
If you’ve been injured in some way, you could possibly receive damages to help cover your loss of income. Doing so means hiring an expert attorney to help advocate for you.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to get medical help as well as to seek legal counsel. You could be owed a substantial amount in damages, but the best way to get everything you are owed is by hiring an auto accident attorney. Whether you were behind the wheel, in the back of a cab, or a pedestrian who got struck by a reckless driver, you could get compensation for your financial and personal losses.