The aftermath of a car accident can be a trying time. With emotions and adrenaline still pretty high, making decisions on what to do next can feel like the last thing you want to do.
Understanding the basics of car accidents is something that anyone will benefit from. The thought is that you hopefully will never need to use any of this information, but if you are in the unfortunate situation of an accident, at least you will go into the situation armed with knowledge.
Stay at the scene of the accident and call police right away. If possible, check on all other people involved in the crash, but do not attempt to move someone who has been hurt. Moving a hurt person can cause more damage. Let emergency personnel take over from here.
Once you have called the police, it is then time to exchange insurance information with the other driver. If there were other passengers or witnesses, also take down their contact information.
When talking with the other people involved, do not apologize or take any responsibility for the accident. This is important, as any statements you make could later be used against you and you could be held liable based on these statements.
If you can, also take pictures of the scene, along with any damage done to your vehicle.
Dealing with insurance companies
After the accident, call you insurer and report the details of the accident. Be honest and straightforward because any false information you provide could damage your case later.
Keep track of any medical treatment you receive or medications that you take because of the accident. These records can help prove your losses.
If the other person's insurance company contacts you, be cautious about what you say. It is best to have the insurance company go directly to your lawyer -- not you. No matter how helpful they may sound on the phone, they are ultimately trying to either build a case against you, or reduce their amount of liability.
Also do not accept any initial settlement offer from an insurance company. This is most likely going to be too low. These initial settlement offers also tend to fail to take into account any residual injuries, pain or disability that did not show up in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Accepting a low-ball initial offer could prevent you from receiving the full amount of compensation you would have otherwise received.