Regardless of whether you are determined to be at fault or not, there are some universal steps you should take immediately following a car accident. First, immediately check on the safety of everyone involved in the accident. Call paramedics if there’s the slightest possibility that anyone is injured. Whether or not paramedics are needed, make sure a police officer comes to the scene of the accident. It’s essential that a police report is created to determine which driver will be held legally at fault.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Keep careful track of the claim number you are assigned and the name of your claims adjuster. Report the accident to the other driver’s insurance company as well, but be careful about what you say. Following that, seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Regardless of who is at fault, your attorney can assist you with documentation and take the lead during stressful claim settlement negotiations.
If you do believe you are at fault, it is essential that you take extreme care when conversing with the other vehicle’s driver or passengers. Don’t discuss how the accident happened, which driver is at fault, or apologize or make any other admission of guilt or fault. A safe game plan is to ask the other driver if anyone was hurt, exchange contact and insurance info, and then suggest that everyone wait until the police arrive. That’s it. Remain calm and don’t get drawn in to any arguments or confrontations. If the other driver does attempt to escalate the situation, simply walk away and wait for the police.
It’s also important to get names and contact information for anyone who was a witness to the accident. And make sure to take as many pictures as possible of both the accident scene and the damage to both vehicles.
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