Auto accidents affect the lives of millions of Americans each year. While no one gets behind the wheel expecting an accident, being prepared and knowing the right steps to take when the unexpected happens can make all the difference – not only for your health, but also for any personal injury claim you may choose to file against another party who was responsible for your crash and injuries.
At Wells & Wells, our team works diligently to help accident victims across Arkansas from the very moment they reach out for help. While speaking with a Jonesboro car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your wreck can ensure you take the correct steps toward the compensation you deserve, there are also some things you should remember to protect yourself.
Below are seven important steps to take in a car accident:
- Prepare Yourself – While this step doesn’t come after a car accident, it can certainly make the difference when one happens. Being prepared for a wreck means knowing a few important things, including your auto insurance policy. Take a look at your policy to make sure you have adequate coverage. This includes uninsured and underinsured coverage, which can protect you in the event you are injured by a driver who doesn’t have enough or any insurance. Know who carries your policy, how to contact them, and where you keep your insurance information in your vehicle. While you’re at it, you can also keep a pen and paper in your vehicle for use when writing down information after a wreck.
- Call Police – Following an accident, calling the police / 911 can ensure that any emergency medical services are alerted if there are injuries. Even if the parties involved in your wreck are not injured, or if they wish to handle things “outside” of insurance companies, you should still call police. Doing so will allow a law enforcement officer to respond to the scene, gather information, and record what happened in a crash in an objective police report that can prove useful in a personal injury claim. Having a police officer respond to a crash can also protect you from motorists who may provide false identifying information.
- Don’t Admit Fault – When speaking with officers, or any involved drivers, make sure to only discuss what you know are the facts. Don’t apologize and don’t admit guilt – you might not have all the details of what happened and it may be used against you. In fact, insurance companies are quick to point own apologies and admissions of guilt as signs that you caused or contributed to an accident, even if you truly did not. They use this tactic as a way to avoid paying you on your claim, or to pay as little as they can. Leave discussions of fault for a later time, when an attorney can help you sort out all the details.
- Gather Information – Even if you call police, you should still take it upon yourself to gather as much information as possible. Of course, this includes contact, license, and insurance information of any involved drivers, as well as contact information from any witnesses who may have seen the crash. You can also take photos of the scene of the accident, including traffic signs and lane markings, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries if you are able to do so. While the events of a crash are still fresh in your mind, it is also a good idea to jot down the details of what led up to the crash and what happened. For example, what direction were you traveling and on what street? Were there traffic signs nearby? Where did the initial impact occur? This information can prove helpful should you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.
- Call Your Insurance Company – You should call your insurance company to report a crash as soon as you can, especially when the crash was not your fault and you are expecting to incur expenses as a result. Altering your insurance company is important, and the details of who can be held liable for your damages, including any medical expenses and lost wages, can be further handled with the assistance of a lawyer.
- Keep Track of Repairs / Medical Treatment– After an accident, you should take it upon yourself to keep track of any repairs related to the wreck. You can then discuss this with your insurance company, who will be able to handle the situation and any communications with the at-fault driver. You should also seek timely medical attention after a wreck for any symptoms you are experiencing or to have an evaluation to ensure you are okay. A qualified personal injury lawyer can help you handle communications with insurers and keep further track of related expenses, such as medical evaluations and any treatment you may require.
- Speak with a Lawyer – Calling a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a preventable accident is one of the most important steps you can take, and it is a step that will provide you with the guidance you need to navigate your physical and financial recovery. At Wells & Wells, we make ourselves readily available to help victims after they are involved in wrecks caused by the negligence of others, and we help clients ensure they receive any needed medical treatment resulting from their wrecks, handle communications with insurers, and work to pursue financial compensation from the at-fault party for all damages you suffered, including pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income, among others.
Involved in a car accident in Jonesboro or any of the surrounding areas? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Wells & Wells for the comprehensive support and representation you need. For a FREE consultation, contact us today!