Car accidents are annoying at best and devastating at worst. If you’ve been involved in a rear end accident, it’s important that you know what your next steps should be. The following are some actions you should take immediately following a car accident:
1. Call the police
If you were involved in a car accident, you should contact the police right away. It’s important to file a report so that there’s a record of everything that occurred. The police will examine the scene of the accident and they will find out who was involved. They will look at all of the vehicles and determine as best as they can how damaged the cars are, and then they will file an official police report. This is important and can help you collect any compensation you are entitled to, whether it’s from an insurance company or by suing the defendant in court. The more documentation and the more proof you have, the better.
2. Make sure you’re safe
It’s crucial to make sure you’re safe. If you had an accident on a busy road, make sure you get onto the shoulder or somewhere else safe where there’s no chance you could accidentally be hit by a car. Leave your vehicle where it is so the police can see exactly what happened and so you can take photos of the scene in a way that is as accurate as possible.
3. Gather information
If you’re healthy enough to do so, you should gather information from anyone else involved in the accident. This means getting their names, contact information, insurance information, and any documentation that you think might be important. Additionally, you should try to get names and contact information from witnesses as well. If there were people who saw the accident, they may be helpful in the future should you decide to file a lawsuit.
4. Take photos and make notes
Take photos of the scene of the accident so the exact situation is documented. You should also take photos of your car and any damages that occurred, and photos of any other cars involved in the accident. It’s also important to take photos of any visible injuries you have. Your injuries and medical records will be very important in the event that you decide to file a lawsuit in the future.
It’s also important to take notes about everything that took place so you can have this information available in the future. Notating all this information while it’s fresh in your mind right after the accident is helpful because memories fade quickly and can change over time. It could be months or years before your case goes to trial, and if you’re relying solely on your memory, not remembering something important could hurt your case. Take as many notes as possible so that you have something to review should you decide to file a lawsuit.
5. Don’t speak to anyone/don’t admit fault
After a rear end accident, many people are tempted to speak to the other parties or witnesses about what happened. It’s important to remember that if you file a lawsuit in the future, anything you do or say to the other party or witnesses can be used against you once your lawyer enters into negotiations or the case goes to trial. Even if you think it was partially your fault, keep it to yourself.
6. Seek medical attention
Anytime you’re injured, you should seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you have any visible injuries, it’s important to have a medical professional examine you. Car accidents often result in internal injuries that can’t be seen, and the only way to know for sure that you aren’t seriously injured is to have certain tests and scans performed.
7. Contact a lawyer
Contacting a lawyer is one of the most important steps you can take. Many people are inclined to try to handle the situation on their own, but this usually doesn’t work out in their favor. Before contacting your insurance company or the insurance company of the other party, you should seek legal representation so that they can handle these conversations. Insurance companies typically try to offer low settlements in order to resolve the case quickly and inexpensively, but this could mean you are leaving a lot of money on the table. With legal representation, it’s much less likely that the insurance company will try to take advantage of you after a rear end accident.