Car crashes are complicated, and they’re challenging to navigate on your own. Getting a fair outcome often means doing everything right at the scene and then being aware of the next steps in the days after the accident. But what are the dos and don’ts of a car crash? Let’s take a closer look.
At the Scene of the Crash
The first and most important steps are at the scene of the crash. Remember, you should exchange insurance information, get pictures, and talk to witnesses. But that’s not all.
Do: Get a Police Report
It’s always a good idea to get a police report after a crash, even in a low-speed collision. A police report effectively documents where and when the accident occurred and verifies the contact information of everyone involved. It may also include a statement from both drivers, a diagram of the damages, and witness statements.
A police report is invaluable in pursuing justice for a car crash, and it’s often the first thing your attorney will ask for during your consultation.
Don’t: Let the Other Driver Pressure You
Meeting the other driver is always nerve-wracking. You don’t know how they’ll respond to the crash. If you meet the other driver and they try to pressure you against getting the police involved or exchanging information, you should ignore them. If you don’t have their insurance information, you’ll likely have to make an uninsured driver claim, which can potentially raise your monthly rates.
Likewise, if the other driver refuses to talk to you or if they won’t pull over and exchange information, make sure you get their license plate number at the very least. That will help the police and your attorney contact the other driver and hold them accountable.
The Day of the Crash
Exchanging information and getting a police report are only the first steps. While it’s tempting to go home and relax after a traumatic car crash, you still have a full day of appointments and phone calls ahead of you.
Do: Go to the Doctor
Once you leave the scene of the crash, you should go directly to either the hospital or your primary physician, depending on the severity of your injuries. The sooner you go to the doctor, the better your chances of identifying and treating an injury before it gets worse. Even if you don’t feel pain yet, the doctor can conduct a physical examination to identify early warning indicators.
Seeing a doctor immediately after getting a police report creates a clear record demonstrating that your injuries resulted from the crash. Additionally, the doctor’s documentation will go a long way toward establishing the severity of your injuries to the insurance company.
Don’t: Wait Until It Gets Worse
Sometimes those injured in a crash don’t realize they’re hurt. Car crashes are stressful and often trigger an adrenaline rush. That adrenaline, combined with the shock of a serious crash, can numb you to pain (even from serious injuries) until hours later. When you’re hurt in a car crash or any other traumatic experience, you can’t trust your normal senses. The only way to know whether you’re injured is to be examined by a doctor.
The longer you wait to be seen for your injuries, the more likely the insurance company is to cast doubt on your claim. If you wait to go to the doctor, they may question the seriousness of your injuries, even if you didn’t experience symptoms or feel pain until days later. The best thing you can do is go to the doctor’s office directly from the scene of the crash.
Do: Report the Crash
Most insurance policies require that you report the crash as soon as possible. These days, you can usually report crashes online or with an app. That’s a good thing when all you have to do is put in the other driver’s information!
Talking to an insurance adjuster directly can seriously damage your claim, especially if they use certain tactics to either shift fault or undermine the severity of your injuries. The safe bet is to simply inform your insurance company you’ve been in a crash and then let your attorney handle the negotiating.
Don’t: Provide Details
After you report the crash, there’s a good chance the insurance company will call you to discuss the details. What you say on these phone calls can have a huge impact on the outcome of your case.
Remain calm and do not offer any additional information. Don’t express how you’re feeling or what happened in the crash. Remember, insurance adjusters, are trained negotiators and are looking for anything you might say that could shift fault or justify a lower settlement offer. At this stage, it’s best to contact an attorney and let them handle the negotiations for you.
Do: Contact an Attorney
Once you’ve been to the doctor and reported the crash, consider contacting Dunk Law Firm for a free case consultation. An attorney on your side knows how to handle lowball offers from the insurance company and negotiate for more just compensation.
Moreover, an attorney will handle all the paperwork and phone calls for you. Once you hire a legal team, you won’t have to worry about saying the wrong thing to the insurance company. That means less stress for you and more time to focus on feeling better.
To schedule an appointment at Dunk Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (800) 674-9339 or send us an email.