Right after a car accident, everything is a blur. You don't know whether to cry, scream, fight, or run away. If you know what to do ahead of time though, your mind may jump into habit and do whatever it is you prepared for. The steps below highlight the basic process you should go through after a car accident. Use this as a guide when you can't think of anything else to do.
The very first thing you need to do in an accident is call 911. If there is someone injured that needs help, this will get an ambulance out right away. If no one is injured, this will at least make sure that a police officer comes to document the incident. The police report that gets filled out at the scene will determine the outcome of any insurance claim or personal injury case that you file for the accident.
Exchange Insurance Information
Even if you think the other driver was at fault for an accident, you need to give him or her your insurance information. You also need to get a copy of the other person's insurance so that you have someone to contact with your claim. Put this information on your phone, just to be on the safe side.
Take plenty of pictures of your car to record the damage done to it. Put a newspaper in the background of one image to make a note of the date of the photos. If you wait too long to take these pictures, they may not be valid later on.
Take your car to a few local repair shops to get estimates for your damage costs. You do not have to pay these out of pocket yet. You just need to have the estimates so the insurance companies know what to pay.
File a Claim or Lawsuit
If the other driver had valid insurance, file a claim for the medical and property damage you incurred during the accident. If the person did not have insurance and you do not have underinsured motorist coverage to take care of the costs, you need to contact a lawyer to file a personal injury claim. Then go through whatever steps are necessary with the insurance company or attorney to get the compensation you need for your accident.
As long as you can keep these steps in mind soon after your collision, you can make the most out of a bad situation. Find someone who can help you get the money you truly deserve.
Jennifer Jensen is a mother, paralegal, and law blogger. She specializes in blogging for Personal Injury Lawyers in Salt Lake City.