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Post-Accident Checklist: What to Do and Avoid, According to Personal Injury Lawyers

The aftermath of a crash can be jarring; however, it’s important to make the right decisions to protect yourself and your case. Following this post-accident checklist devised by our personal injury attorneys can help you make those decisions.

  1. Check Yourself and Others for Injuries

The first thing you need to do after an accident is determine whether you or someone else is injured. Some injuries and symptoms will be obvious; however, adrenaline from the crash could be masking symptoms of very severe injuries. Mark any discomfort you feel. This could include: 

  • Any soreness, numbness, or tingling
  • Back or neck pain
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness 

Do the same for any passengers and the other driver. If you believe someone else might be injured, do not move them unless it’s necessary to get them to safety. 

  1. Call 911 If You Believe Anyone Is Injured or There Is Property Damage

If you feel any discomfort or know you are injured, call 911 right away. They will send law enforcement and paramedics to the scene. Once they get there, allow paramedics to examine you. Let them know about any discomfort you’re feeling; don’t downplay anything. What may seem minor could be a severe injury that requires immediate medical treatment. 

Law enforcement will speak with you and the other driver. Give them only the facts. Do not speculate on what the other driver was doing at the time. Leave that up to the officer. They will also speak with any witnesses to the accident. They may be able to establish that the driver was intoxicated or distracted. 

Be sure to get a copy of the police report when it’s made available. 

Do Not Apologize for the Accident 

When you are speaking to the other driver or law enforcement, stay calm and do not apologize—even if you think you caused or contributed to the accident. Even a reflexive “I’m sorry” can be used against you.

  1. Exchange Information With the Other Driver 

Be sure that you get the other driver’s insurance information. You can take a photo of their license and insurance information or write it down. If they don’t have insurance, note that. 

  1. Take Photos of the Scene 

If you are able, take pictures of everything at the scene. This includes:

  • The placement of the vehicles 
  • Any broken traffic signals or obscured stop signs
  • Skid marks or lack thereof 
  • Any visible injuries

If you are unable to do so, ask an uninjured passenger. 

  1. Report the Accident to Your Insurer

Report your car accident as soon as possible. You can call your insurer or file a claim within the insurer’s app.  

  1. Get Medical Care If Paramedics Didn’t Come to the Scene

If you did not receive medical care at the scene, go to the emergency room or get an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Getting medical care will help link your injuries to the accident and treat any injuries you might have. 

Follow Doctor’s Orders

Be sure that you follow all your doctor’s orders. Do not skip appointments. If you believe you have healed or reached maximum medical improvement, speak with your doctor or get a second opinion. Stopping medical care or skipping appointments gives the insurer an excuse to pay you less or deny your claim entirely. 

  1. Watch What You Say to Any Involved Parties

After you’ve reported the accident to your insurer, the other driver’s insurance adjuster will likely call you to ask for your side of the story. This is where things can get tricky. It may seem as though the adjuster is on your side; they will seem nice and helpful but they are looking for any way to poke holes in your story. 

The most innocuous things can jeopardize your case, such as: 

  • Apologizing for the accident 
  • Saying you’re okay (This can imply that you are uninjured.)

When the insurance adjuster calls, they’ll ask you for a recorded statement. Do not agree to this; give them only the basics of your accident (e.g., when and where it happened, what time of day, who else was involved) and then direct any further questions to us. If they ask if you are injured, let them know you are waiting for the results of the doctor’s examinations. If you have not hired us at this point, tell them it’s not a convenient time to talk and schedule a time for later. 

Do Not Accept Insurance Settlements Without Talking to Us First

If the insurance adjuster makes an offer, do not accept it without running it by a lawyer. Insurers want to save as much money as possible. As such, they often offer a quick, very low settlement in the hopes that you will accept what you can get. 

Our team will determine whether it is sufficient to cover all your damages. If not, we can negotiate for what you deserve.

  1. Hire a Car Accident Lawyer 

Protect your rights and hire someone from our car accident team. The personal injury claims process can be deceptively complex and it’s easy to do or say something that can jeopardize your claim. Our team will:

  • Gather evidence
  • File your claim
  • Manage communications with the other party and their insurer
  • Negotiate a fair settlement
  • Prep your case for trial 

Learn more about how our car and motorcycle accident lawyers can help you after an accident. Call KJT Law Group today for a free legal consultation after your accident: (818) 507-8525.

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