Being involved in a car accident can be one of the most difficult times of your life. It is important to keep your composure and follow these general principles after a car crash.
1. Keep calm. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Being in a car crash raises your heart rate and definitely gets your adrenaline pumping. But, it is crucial to be well composed in this situation and assess for dangers or injuries.
2. Keep your cool. Much like point one, keep calm and don’t lose your temper. When you have been in a car accident due to the negligence of another, it is easy to get mad and want to yell and scream. This is ALWAYS a bad idea.
3. Keep your mouth shut. After you have been involved in a car accident, little said is worth a lot. In other words, do not speak too much. Answer questions to police or other emergency workers, but do not discuss much with the other driver. What you say will be used against you in the future should you proceed with a lawsuit.
4. Keep your opinions to yourself. Do not discuss who you think was at fault. Let the decision of fault up to the police. Let the police know all the facts that gave rise to your car accident.
5. Do not leave the scene of the accident. It is important to have the police come out and make a report. When the police are unable to come out to your accident, it is crucial that you exchange information with the other driver (license info and insurance info), and follow up by making a police report at the station. If you are injured, it may be appropriate to go to the hospital by ambulance. If the police come out to the scene of your accident, check to make sure they get all the information they need prior to leaving.
6. Collect evidence. Photos of the scene, vehicle, and injuries often make good evidence. When able to do so, it is good to get pictures of vehicles and the scene to help reconstruct the accident. When appropriate, it is also helpful to have pictures of your injuries and how you are healing.
7. Notify insurance. When you are able to, notify your insurance company and let them know you were involved in a car crash.
8. BUT, do not get too comfortable with the claims adjuster. Claims adjusters are infamous for coming across as your friend—this is not the case! Insurance adjusters are looking out for one thing: the profits of their company. Don’t mistake their perceived kindness as an invitation to talk and talk. Most importantly, DO NOT make a recorded statement without first consulting an attorney. These statements will almost always be used against you.
9. Shhhh… Silence is golden! Everyone that you talk with about your car accident can be called as a witness to statements that you have made. In other words, do not talk to people about your accident. It just makes for difficult situations further down the road.
These are just a few pointers, but there are a lot more. The good thing about hiring an attorney to handle your car accident claim is that they will deal with the insurance company so you do not have to. A car accident attorney understands how to handle conversations with insurance adjusters. Let your accident lawyer deal with the insurance company, while you focus on healing from your injuries.