The steps you take in the days and weeks after a car accident can be crucial to getting the best result for any car accident injury claim you decide to file. Here's what to know at the outset:
You're probably not reading this at the scene of your car accident, but even after the fact it might help to get a sense of "best practices" when it comes to protecting yourself and others (and your legal rights) in the moments after a crash. That includes:
Get more tips on what to do at the scene of your car accident.
After your car accident, if you feel even the slightest hint of injury, or just have the sense that something's not right with you physically, it's important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Your health is clearly your first concern, but getting necessary medical treatment after a car accident (and having medical bills and records to document that treatment) will only strengthen any car accident injury claim you end up making.
Learn more about seeing a doctor ASAP after a car accident.
Any time you're involved in an incident that could trigger your car insurance coverage, under the terms of your policy you're required to report the incident to your insurer. If you don't let your car insurance company know about the crash within a reasonable time (usually a week or so at most), it could cause you problems down the line. That's especially true if you end up making a claim under your own coverage, or if the other driver gets in touch with your insurer before you do.
Learn more about the importance of contacting your car insurance company after a car accident.
You might also need to report your car accident to law enforcement, to your state's department of motor vehicles, or to a similar agency. Get more details on reporting a car accident.
If a law enforcement officer came to the scene of your car accident, it's a near-certainty that some kind of report was generated in connection with the crash. At minimum, this police report will include details about the crash—where it occurred, who was involved, and so on. In many instances, the officer also records other circumstances of the crash, including witness statements, vehicle positioning, location of debris, and other factors that might weigh into the determination of who might have caused the car accident.
Get more details on how police reports can affect a car accident claim.
At every opportunity, make sure you preserve any records related to your car accident, and produce your own documentation where doing so can help strengthen your car accident claim. That includes:
In a Nolo/Lawyers.com survey, our users reported that having a lawyer on their side resulted in not just a higher likelihood of a payout of some kind, but also a much higher average compensation:
Get more details on how having a lawyer on your side affects the outcome of a car accident claim. And if you're ready to discuss your options with a legal professional, you can use the tools on this page to connect with a car accident lawyer in your area, and learn more about when it's time to hire a car accident lawyer.