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If you have been in a car or truck accident, there’s a lot happening. It’s stressful and can cause panic if the damage is severe. However, you must keep a cool and steady head during these times and remember that there are several important steps you should take to protect yourself and legal rights:
First, seek medical attention. If you or anyone else involved in the accident has been injured, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine, it is still a good idea to get checked out, as some injuries may not become apparent until later. Do a thorough inspection of yourself and your passengers to ensure the adrenaline isn’t preventing them from feeling pain. Some injuries take a few minutes to feel if the accident was traumatic enough.
Second, contact the police: Call the police to the scene of the accident, even if it’s relatively minor for damages. This is important so that an official and documented accident report can be created and viewed by all necessary parties later on. This will be an important document if you need to file an insurance claim or pursue legal action.
Third, collect information from the drivers: Collect the names, phone numbers, vehicle make and model and insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident. It’s a good idea to gather the names and contact information of any witnesses who might have seen the incident and can provide the police or an attorney with a statement.
Fourth, take pictures of the damage from several angles: Take several pictures of the accident scene, including damage to all vehicles involved, skid marks on the road, and any other relevant details. You cannot take too many photos in this situation so take a lot. The more photos you have, the more evidence you can present to an attorney or insurance worker (especially if you are not at fault in the accident).
Fifth, notify your insurance company: Contact your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. They will likely ask for photos and if a police report was filed which you should be able to provide.
Sixth, consult with an attorney: If you have been injured or if the accident was particularly severe, it may be in your best interest to consult with an auto accident attorney. They can review all the details and advise you on your legal options to help you navigate the claims process. Be sure to seek multiple legal opinions from multiple attorneys in this situation.
It is generally a good idea to talk to a lawyer if you have been injured in a car accident or if you are facing significant property damage. Even if you are expecting to miss work and lose wages because of the accident. A lawyer can help you determine whether you have a legal claim and can guide you through the process of pursuing compensation for your damages. Not all accidents will result in a claim, but if you’ve been hurt through no fault of your own, it would be worth a conversation with an attorney.