A car accident, even a minor incident, can turn into a pile of medical bills, auto repair appointments and expenses, and car rental costs. To increase the chance of recouping funds to pay for all those expenses, you need to take a few essential steps—starting just a few minutes after the car accident.
Call the police.
Even if your accident seems like nothing more than a minor fender bender, contact the police after your accident. There could be more damage to your vehicle than is visible to the eye, or you may need more medical attention that you first anticipate. A police report is vital to your claim as you pursue compensation for damage and injuries.
Collect information at the scene of the accident.
If possible—and this is not always possible if you need medical transport—get information from the other driver and any witnesses at the scene. If you call the police, they can often capture this information in the police report. Take pictures with your cell phone to document the accident scene, damage, and injuries.
Seek medical attention ASAP if needed.
If you are hurt, don’t wait to make a doctor’s appointment, or, if your injuries are more serious, to go to the hospital for treatment. Getting medical attention as soon after the car accident gives you the documentation you need to establish that your injury or injuries was caused by the accident.
Keep all documentation.
Don’t throw anything away after your car accident. Keep a file or folder with the police report, medical documents, car rental receipts, paperwork pertaining to the damage to your car, and any other documentation you receive after the car accident. Proper documentation can be essential during negotiations and conversations with the insurance company.
Contact a good car accident lawyer.
A good car accident lawyer can be an excellent advantage in your negotiations with the insurance company, and in your recovery. Contact a good accident lawyer if: 1) the cost of your damages and injuries is significant 2) you need restitution for future costs or losses 3) there is some dispute over fault in the accident. A lawyer can take over all contacts with the insurance company and negotiate for the full cost of damages and injuries.