The steps you take after an automobile accident will make a big difference later on if you decide to file a personal injury claim for any injuries or property damage, so it is essential for every driver to understand what must be done in the aftermath. Being prepared will help you do what is necessary at a time when you will likely feel overwhelmed, shocked, and frustrated.
Here is a general checklist of actions you should take after being involved in a motor vehicle accident:
- Check to see if everyone is okay: One of the first things you should do is make sure everyone involved in the accident, passengers and drivers alike, is okay. If anyone is in need of emergency medical assistance, call for help.
- Call local law enforcement: The at-fault party will probably do their best to convince you not to call the police and suggest that the two of you handle this matter without their involvement, but this is actually a massive mistake. You need to obtain a police report in order to document the incident since both insurance companies will request a copy if you ultimately decide to file a personal injury claim. Otherwise, your case will be missing out on a crucial piece of evidence.
- Swap information with one another: Regardless of who is at fault for the accident, you should both gather information, including home addresses, phone numbers, and car insurance information. The law enforcement officer who writes up the police report will also likely gather this information, but you should still personally exchange information in case anything is accidentally omitted.
- Take pictures of the scene: Pictures are the sort of invaluable evidence you will never have another chance to obtain, so make sure you do so before leaving the scene. Photograph the damage done to both vehicles, visible injuries, damaged property, and anything else that might seem important enough to document. You can always delete anything that you do not need later on, so take as many pictures as you can. Fortunately, this step is easier to do than ever before now that most of us have cell phones with photographic capabilities.
- Notify your car insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Generally, it is best to do this at the scene of the accident, so do not put this off for later.
- Go to the hospital or see your doctor: Just because your injuries do not require immediate medical attention does not mean you should not get checked out at all. In fact, many injuries do not even present symptoms after an accident. It could take hours, days, or even weeks before you feel anything, so make it a priority to see a doctor as soon as you leave the scene of the accident. This is not only helpful for your personal injury claim, but it will also protect your health.
Reach out to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
It is crucial to seek legal representation who have a deep understanding of car accident law after sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle accident. An experienced attorney will be able to help you obtain the compensation you need to cope with the damages and losses you suffered as a result of this terrible incident. It's important that you contact an attorney after your accident as Louisiana has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims of one year from the date of your accident. Don't wait and miss your opportunity to file your claim.