Even if you are unhurt, a car accident, bus accident, or motorcycle accident can still be a scary or traumatic experience. In addition, once you've had a chance to get over the initial shock, there still may be long-term consequences to your health, driving record, and finances. Here are a few ways to minimize the long-term effects of an accident:
Check to see if there are injuries to passengers in your car, people in other cars, or to pedestrians. No matter what, the most important thing is getting medical attention to anyone that needs it as quickly as possible.
Contact the police. Nearly any accident will cause enough damage that failing to report it would be a violation of the law. Further, even if the other driver initially admits fault and agrees to pay for everything, they may later change their story and it will be your word against theirs.
Look for neutral witnesses. A more serious automobile accident may eventually lead to insurance disputes or court claims. Those riding in your car may be presumed to be biased for you, just as you might think passengers of the other car are simply trying to help their driver friend. Following an accident, witnesses may briefly stop to see if everyone is OK or if the drivers will confront each other. After that, they may want to quickly get on with their lives. If they aren't willing to wait for police, ask for a business card, name and phone number, or write down their license plate number.
When the police arrive, calmly tell them what happened and state only the facts. Not only will it help them create a more detailed and accurate report later on, but it will help show that you are a credible person.
Never admit fault or reveal financial information such as your insurance limits, your job, or where you live (or how much your house is worth). Any admissions you make not only can and will be used against you, but may also be distorted or twisted. Further, someone seeking a large payday may view you as a good source for it and exaggerate their injuries or losses.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible, especially if there was a large amount of damage or the accident occurred at a high rate of speed. It can wait until the next business day, but you shouldn't wait longer than that for two reasons. First, the insurance company is not your friend. Even if you were clearly not at fault and the other insurance company may be expected to pay, the driver may have been underinsured or your insurance company may have difficulty collecting. At the end of the day, their main goal is going to be to spend as little time and money working on your case as possible. Second, the other driver may be considering taking further action against you. This could include for vehicle damages or injuries, real or not, they may not have been readily apparent at the scene. An attorney can help you make sure all your paperwork is in order and discuss ways to protect yourself going forward.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a 29% fee, not the standard 40-45% like other firms.
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