There is a car accident every 60 seconds in the United States. Most accidents only involve property damage; but unfortunately, people are sometimes seriously injured. If you are involved in a car accident it is important to take some basic steps to protect yourself and your interests.
1. Stop and Protect Yourself: Make sure to immediately stop your vehicle after an accident. Don’t leave the scene. If the car is operable, pull over to a safe location. After an accident you will have a rush of adrenaline. Try to take a deep breathe and calm down. Next, try to assess yourself and determine if you were injured. If you have passengers, assess their condition as well.
2. Call the Police: After you have safely pulled over and assessed your condition, call the police. If you believe the other driver was at-fault, be sure to tell the officer exactly what they did to cause the collision. The officer will investigate the scene and may assign fault in the report. Most importantly, it is critical that the officer accurately documents the accident and creates an official report.
3. Take Photographs: A picture is worth a thousand words. If there was damage to your vehicle then take pictures at the scene. Photographs of the scene may end up being very important evidence. Photographs will also help the insurance adjuster understand the severity of the accident. Also, take pictures of any injuries you may have suffered. Again, these photographs help paint a picture of what happened.
4. Exchange Information: Get the other driver’s insurance information. If they wont tell you, then tell the police officer. The police officer will request proof of insurance when completing the report. If they don’t have insurance, we can still help you file an uninsured motorist claim. An experienced North Carolina car accident attorney will know there are additional ways to potentially recover other than just through the at-fault driver’s insurance.
5. Seek Medical Treatment: The number one priority after an accident is making sure you are okay. If somethings feels off, then trust your gut and seek medical treatment. Paramedics may arrive at the scene to help. Have them check you out for any injuries. The paramedics will help you determine whether you need to go to the hospital.
Sometimes, it takes some time for the adrenaline to wear off. The next day, you may feel aches and pains you did not notice right after the accident. Go seek medical treatment immediately. Don’t wait. You will want to get treatment quickly after an accident so you can get better as soon as possible. Don’t let conditions linger. Waiting may end up hurting you, and your case. If you don’t know what medical providers to go see, call an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney.
6. File A Claim: Contact your insurance company. Also, call the at-fault person’s insurance company and file a claim. This will start the process. You may also be entitled to “med-pay” benefits, which cover accident-related medical bills. Make sure you keep a file of all receipts, letters and documents from the insurance company. This information should include the claim number, name of the adjuster, repair estimates, and car rental receipts.
If you have questions about how to file a claim, call an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney today.
7. Protect Your Rights: When another party was negligent and injures you, then you need to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Depending on your situation, you may need to address property damage, medical bills, liens, coordinating medical treatment, and negotiating a settlement. And if the insurance company won’t settle, you need an attorney who can take them to court.
Please feel free to give us a call to discuss your potential case.