So you have just been in an accident and it was your fault and you don’t know what to do. What you need to do is to take logical steps to minimize problems associated with an accident and to ensure your own safety and security. Below are ten steps that you can take to survive the aftermath of a car accident and to protect your interest.
Step 1 – Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Break out your camera phone and take pictures of the accident. Take photos that clearly show where each car is, where the initial impact took place, skid marks, road conditions, any obstacles that may have impaired your vision of the road and the damage that was caused to each vehicle. When photographing the cars take a front view, left side view, right side view, rear view and views from under the car. Also take close up pictures of specific damage sites. Also photograph the victim in their car and what is found inside their car, after all they may have been on their phone or drinking alcohol while driving.
Step 2 – Contact the Police
You want the police on the scene as soon as possible after the accident. They will be able to document the scene officially and help corroborate your story as to how severe the damage was and if the driver of the other car was partially at fault.
Step 3 – Contact Your Insurance Agent
Call your insurance agent and file your claim. Give them your side of the story and fill out any forms that you need to.
Step 4 – Talk With Your Attorney
You may be surprised at how quickly a simple fender bender can turn into a full blown court case. To protect yourself talk with your attorney to make sure you are doing everything that you are supposed to do and to learn what you shouldn’t be doing.
Step 5 – Keep a Journal
In the event that your case goes to court it is important to have a journal which documents what has happened since the accident. This journal will start with a detailed account of the accident and a time line of the steps that you took after the fact. You will want to create special entries for phone calls, letters you receive and meetings with your attorney. These pieces of information will help prove that you did everything that you could to fulfill your responsibilities.
Step 6 – Drive Carefully
It is easy to get into another car accident after getting into one because your nerves and reflexes have been impacted by the first accident. Stress from dealing with the insurance company and legal matters that have popped up can also impair your reflexes and your ability to focus. If you notice that you are having a hard time concentrating then forego using your car for awhile, and instead carpool or use public transportation.
Step 7 – Show Up to Court
If your case goes to court then show up for your court date to argue your side of the case. Being present at the hearing or trial will ensure that the facts of the case are presented accurately and it will also give you the opportunity to defend yourself against false allegations. Use your journal to support your timeline and actions.
Step 8 – Take Care of Yourself
While the victim of the accident will usually go see a doctor the responsible party doesn’t always seek medical attention. Generally, it is a good idea to get at least a check up to make sure you didn’t sustain internal injuries.
Step 9 – Don’t Make Contact With the Other Driver
While it may seem like a common courtesy to call the other driver to see how they are doing, it is generally not legally a smart thing to do. If they happen to be a friend then you can talk with them, but make sure that there is a witness to your conversations.
Step 10 – Keep Your Insurance Policy Current
During the processing of your accident claim make sure you do not pay your insurance premium late or miss a payment. Your carrier can use these oversights as a reason to cancel your policy.