Hopefully you’ll never need these helpful tips of what to do and not do after a car wreck. But having an idea of how to protect yourself is critical, especially as you go through the settlement process. I can tell you this for sure…waiting until an accident happens is definitely not the ideal time to figure it out!
So let’s say you’ve been in an accident, you’ve possibly sustained some type of injury and you’re wondering…did I do and say everything I was supposed to?!? Let’s see how you did!
Rewind and Replay the experience! Hopefully you did these things:
- You recorded the details of what happened…ideally you have a copy of the accident report which is typically collected at the scene of the accident.
- You got specifics about the other car involved…description, make, model, year, registration, license plate number
- You got the contact information of the driver…their name, address, phone and email if available
- You documented information about their insurance…company name and policy number
- You called your insurance agent.
And hopefully, you did NOT do the following:
- You did NOT discuss who was at fault
- You did NOT discuss how you felt or what you were doing/thinking at the time of the crash
- You did NOT accept or indicate any type of responsibility
Just remember…it’s not your responsibility to try and resolve anything at the scene. I know you’re stressed and you’re afraid but those minutes after the accident are the time to stay calm, alert and aware of what’s going on around you. Your job is simply to gather as much information as possible. Facts, not feelings, are all that matter at the scene. This is your time to protect yourself and increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement should the situation warrant.
OK…I’ve made it through the fact-gathering phase but now I need help!
Hopefully you were able to speak to your insurance agent fairly quickly. You’ve cooperated and explained all the facts clearly and truthfully. Hopefully the person who hit you has also spoken to their insurance agent. And chances are very high that you may be offered a settlement fairly quickly from their insurance company. Be very cautious and careful with these early offers…especially if you were injured. And remember…their insurance company is there to protect their client…not your wellbeing.
Even if your injuries seem insignificant right after the accident, there are some injuries that don’t show up right away. In these cases, it’s in your best interest to consult an attorney. Regardless of what you might believe, this process can be extremely comfortable and satisfying if you find the right attorney. Don’t be intimidated by larger firms who make you feel like your claim isn’t big enough or insignificant enough. Find an attorney you feel comfortable with, who will take the time to calm your fears and explain the process. Trust me…these attorneys do exist. In our next section, we’ll take this step-by-step and dive in a little deeper.