Whether it is due to negligence or driving under the influence, car crashes have become more common than ever. The worst thing is that there is no way to prepare for a crash. One moment you’re driving, the next you’re not. That’s often how it works. As morbid as this lack of control is, there is no way to avoid it once the crash has taken place. The good news is you can always control the aftermath. Of course, you cannot do this alone, but you can call on the insurance company, the authorities, a legal specialist such as a car accident lawyer, and medical professionals to help. If you know exactly what to do after a car crash, you’ll be able to protect your rights and get the compensation you need to recover. Here are the six things you need to keep in mind.
1. Notify your Insurance Company
If you are capable, make sure you notify your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident taking place. This period could be longer, depending on your insurance policy, and the state you live in, but if you aren’t sure, don’t let more than 24 hours pass without reporting the accident. In Nevada, for example, you have 30 days to report the accident. And even though the most common causes of car accidents in Las Vegas are minor and due to human error, Nevada law requires that you report any accident with more than $750 in damage to your vehicle.
2. Be Kind but Don’t Apologize
In the heat of the moment, and if you’re able, you might feel the urge to run to the other driver and make sure they are okay. Do that, by all means. However, what you shouldn’t do (if you’re not at fault) is apologize. Not out of malice or apathy, but simply because, legally, an apology counts as an admission of fault. If this admission of fault is mentioned on record by the other driver, and trust that it will be mentioned, you’ll lose the right to compensation. After all, if you’re at fault, why do you deserve to be compensated?
3. Call the Authorities
Immediately after the crash has taken place, you are required to alert the authorities, even if you were at fault. Failure to report an accident could get you in even more trouble. That said, a police report is the most essential piece of evidence you need for your case. Not only is it done by a neutral party, but it is also thorough, and it includes several points of view. Not to mention, it serves as irrefutable proof that an accident took place. Even if the accident seems too insignificant, take the time to notify the police. If you decide to file a claim, you’ll need proof that the accident took place, and that you weren’t at fault.
4. Recount the Facts
If you drive in Canada, then you probably already know that you need to provide a written account within a month after the accident to claim benefits, in addition to providing an immediate statement for the police. Your record of the events is another crucial piece of evidence that will greatly help your case. When represented by an experienced Vancouver car accident lawyer, you will be advised against speculating and against commenting on your injuries before seeing a physician. That is the best way to preserve your right to compensation. If you know you’re injured, say so. If you don’t feel pain, state that you are uncertain as some injuries have no symptoms. When the officers arrive at the scene, make sure you tell them what you remember. Stick to the facts and mention only the relevant details.
5. Take Pictures of the Accident
The pictures don’t need to be professional or anything. Just use your phone to document the accident. The main guidelines are: take clear photos and make sure you get wide shots to emphasize context, and close-ups to emphasize details. Take pictures of your injuries, if visible, the vehicles involved, the damage to your vehicle, license plates, and the whole scene altogether.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t have any visible injuries, you need to pass by the hospital for a medical check-up as soon as you have left the scene of the accident. This will not only ensure your safety but will also build you a strong case. The date and time of your check-up, combined with the medical bills, test results, x-rays, and prescriptions, will provide concrete evidence of your damages.
When condensed into a few words, protecting your rights is about proving that you were involved in an accident and that you weren’t at fault. Whether it be through pictures, a statement to the police, medical bills, or notifying your insurance company, any piece of evidence is important. Now that you know your legal priorities, take the time to memorize those tips so that you’re capable of keeping a relatively cool head after surviving a car crash. Last but not least, drive carefully and stay safe.
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