5 Things to Do Immediately After an Automobile Accident (and 5 Things You Should Never Do)
November 14, 2019
Anyone who has been involved in a serious automobile accident knows what a traumatic experience it is. In addition, coping with painful injuries, most people feel dazed and disoriented immediately after a crash. Nevertheless, what you do during those first moments can have a huge impact on your future. If you say the wrong thing or miss an important filing deadline, you risk losing valuable insurance benefits as well as monetary compensation.
Here are the most important things you should do (and not do) after an auto accident.
What to do right after an accident
Call the police and move your car to a nearby spot away from the traffic flow.
If you or someone else is injured, call 911 and request an ambulance. If you are unable to call, ask someone else such as a passenger, bystander, or someone from the other vehicle.
If possible, move your car to a safe location close to the scene of the accident. Put on your emergency flashers and stay in your car until the police arrive.
Take photos of the scene, including all of the vehicles.
Use your cell phone to take as many pictures of the accident as you can. Include all the damaged areas of your car as well as the other vehicle(s) involved in the crash. Take photos of the nearest street signs and intersections where the accident occurred. Recruit someone else if you are unable to do this yourself.
Get the contact information for all passengers and witnesses.
This includes the driver and passengers in the other vehicle. Obtain as much information as possible, including full names, phone numbers, addresses, email, license plate numbers, and the name of the other driver(s)’ insurance company.
Contact a lawyer who specializes in automobile accidents.
This should be done as soon as possible for several reasons. First, Michigan has strict statutes of limitations for filing auto accident claims. Also, it’s important to get your claim started while your witnesses’ recollections are still fresh. Additionally, an attorney will help you collect the no-fault insurance benefits you’re entitled to for medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Finally, research shows victims who hire accident lawyers have better outcomes than those who do it alone.
Seek medical care as soon as possible after the accident.
Even if you weren’t hurt badly enough to require an ambulance, it’s important to get medical treatment as soon as you can. Have a friend or family member take you to the emergency room or urgent care facility. Tell the medical staff about all of your injuries, including those that may seem minor. If you hit your head or lost consciousness, make sure that it is noted in your records.
What NOT to do after an automobile accident
Don’t leave the scene of the accident.
It’s against Michigan law to leave the scene of a motor vehicle accident. After you have called the police and requested an ambulance, if necessary, stay in or near your car until help arrives.
Don’t admit fault or talk about the accident with the other driver(s).
If you talk to the other driver or their passengers, limit the conversation to small talk. Under no circumstances should you admit fault, even if you think you caused the accident.
Don’t discuss your injuries or those of your passengers.
Most people are not able to accurately assess their injuries immediately after an accident. If asked whether you are hurt, say you will have to see a doctor before you can determine the extent of your injuries. Never say you are fine, as many conditions take weeks or even months to become apparent.
Don’t talk to an insurance adjuster.
This includes paperwork from your own insurance company as well as the other driver’s insurer. In the wake of a serious automobile accident, a victim may accept a premature and inadequate settlement. An accident lawyer will prevent you from making this costly yet common mistake.
Don’t miss medical appointments or ignore your doctor’s advice.
If you file a lawsuit, your medical records may become evidence in your case. If you skip medical or therapy appointments, this could be used against you. However, if you are asked to submit to an “independent medical examination” or IME, contact your accident lawyer before responding.
Michigan’s automobile accident law is complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.