You’ve collided with another vehicle. No matter who is at fault, there are several steps you should take immediately after the crash. They are:
- Do not admit fault. Let an experienced accident investigator look at the conditions and impact and determine if you, the other driver, the conditions, or a mix of issues led to the crash.
- Take photos of your vehicle, other vehicles that were involved, the road conditions, and the area around you. If there is a busy intersection, take photos of the design, lights, and signage.
- Call police to have them complete an accident report.
- Ask to be seen by paramedics.
- Get the other driver’s insurance information.
Once you’ve done these five important steps, it’s time to consider calling an attorney. If you were responsible for the crash, an attorney can help you understand any charges and penalties. If you were the victim, an attorney can ensure you get a fair settlement. In either situation, you should call the attorney as soon as you’re physically able.
What if You Feel Fine at the Scene?
You might feel fine at the scene. A few hours later, you have a headache. You go to the doctor and learn you have a mild concussion. It’s not unheard of for adrenaline at the accident scene to keep you from feeling your injuries.
Is there a reason why you’re avoiding a trip to the hospital emergency room? If it’s fear of the medical bills, automobile insurance covers that expense. Don’t let fear of the medical bills keep you from seeing a doctor. If the other driver is at fault, that driver’s insurance has to pay for your medical care. If you were at fault, your insurance will pay.
What If There’s No Damage?
If there was no damage to any of the vehicles and no one was injured, you’ve heard you may not need an attorney. Don’t walk away without thinking about these two things.
You need to be absolutely sure your vehicle isn’t damaged in any way. While there may be no visible damage, are you sure there was no damage that you can’t see? A tiny crack or chip on the rear bumper may not seem like much, but the foam that absorbs the impact or the sacrificial mounting bar could be damaged.
Always File a Report and Get Information From the Driver
It’s always best to file a report and get the driver’s information, even if the damage looks minimal. You’d be surprised how much it costs to fix what looks like minimal damage. For example, you have a cracked bumper. It doesn’t look like much. According to Western Auto Body, the actual cost ranges from approximately $900 to $1,600. What impacts the actual cost?
- The labor involved removing the old bumper
- Inspection of the inner components
- Replacement of any damaged mounts
- Wiring of lights that may be inside the bumper
- Replacement or handling of the airbag sensors that are sometimes in a bumper
- Installation of the replacement bumper
- Materials needed to match the current paint color
In addition to the cost of the repairs, there’s also the cost of a rental car. It can take a few days for a bumper replacement. If you’ll be without a car for that time frame, you may need to rent one, which drives up the cost.
If you walked away without filing a police report or getting the other driver’s insurance details, you may regret your decision. Make sure you document everything about the accident with reports, photos, repair invoices, and medical bills. You might not ever need this paperwork, but if you do, you’ll be glad you took the time.
You Don’t Have to Fight Insurance Companies on Your Own
Are you tempted to take the first settlement the insurance company offers? Are you doing it because you don’t want to invest a lot of time and energy into negotiations with them? You don’t have to. KJT Law Group will negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
KJT Law Group is here to help you. Even if you’re not sure you really need to talk to a lawyer, the free consultation offer makes it a worthwhile conversation to have. Let an experienced attorney tell you if you should take the insurance company’s offer or negotiate a settlement that will cover all of your vehicle’s damages and your medical expenses. Complete the free consultation form or call (818) 507-8525.