Car accidents can drastically alter your day, and sometimes, your life. It’s one of those things that we see in movies and on television shows but don’t often imagine happening in our own lives. Because of this, we might not feel prepared in the event that they do happen. The following will explore some of the things you need to know if you ever get into an accident.
Don’t Expect The Police To Collect All The Evidence
This one might seem counterintuitive, but police officers are humans just like the rest of us, and they have days where they’re tired or days where they miss something. If you are able after an accident to move around safely, you might want to take a few photos yourself (get both wide shots of the full scene as well as close-up shots of specific damages). While you’re at it, get the contact information of any witnesses who are willing to share that with you and exchange information with the other party. Often police officers do an excellent job of collecting evidence, but sometimes, they’re more preoccupied with getting everyone off the road as quickly as possible and opening traffic back up. Don’t rely on someone else to gather this information for you.
You Always Need Medical Attention
No matter what the accident left you feeling, you need to check in with a healthcare professional. There are many types of injuries that don’t reveal themselves through symptoms right away that can cause serious damage if left untreated. Pains can also be disguised by medical conditions like a shock. As well, you might need a paper trail of medical records that can be used in a legal or insurance case.
Minimize Interacting With The Other Party
After an accident, everyone’s emotions are running high. People are often dizzy from whiplash, and this means it’s really easy for conversations to get out of hand. Apart from exchanging information with the other party, keep your communication to a minimum. Obviously, if someone is hurt, you might have to call an ambulance for them, and the person on the other end of the line might ask questions you need to pass along.
But it is critical to remember that anything you say can be used against you later on in court, which means you don’t want your anger or fear resulting in you saying terrible things that are going to be read back to you verbatim at some point. Likewise, if the other party is being aggressive, harsh, mean, or threatening, don’t respond. Let them talk themselves into a hole. In the event that either you or the other party is without insurance, simply write that down and move on. The scene of the accident is not the place to bemoan decisions that should have been made a while ago.
Social Media Is Not Your Friend
Just like anything you say to the other party might be recorded or remembered and shared, anything you post, like, share, comment on, remix, or otherwise engage with online can be used against you by legal professionals and insurance companies. Protect yourself from this and stay off social media until the accident is dealt with. Perhaps you even want to put all your accounts in private for a little while. You can be sure that insurance company lawyers are going to be looking at what you post.
Pay Attention To Your Mental Health
Accidents can be highly traumatic experiences. Yes, you’ve got to figure out how to get to work tomorrow and find a sitter for the kids and take the dog to the groomers, and your in-laws are coming next weekend, and the house is a mess, and you’re worried about missing a day’s work because you really need the money and you don’t even know how you’re going to afford a new car or repairs on the old one, but you need to remember that burying mental and emotional difficulties that arise after an accident is only going to make all those other things worse and more challenging to deal with. Take note of any invasive thoughts you’re having, of whether getting into a car again is a struggle for you, and seek support if you need it.
Don’t Make Any Agreements Without Speaking To An Attorney
The insurance company is going to have lawyers and doctors working for them, and their goal is to spend as little money as possible. Many of the responses available to you after an accident only remain available if you do not pursue any other course of action. This means if the insurance company suggests you choose one way of filing the accident and you agree and you sign, you’re giving up most of the other options you have for recourse. Speak to a lawyer first to make sure all your bases are covered, and you’re making the right choice for you. There are law firms out there that gives free consultations.
The above tips should help you navigate the confusing waters of dealing with a car accident. The process can be stressful, so again, find support. This can take the form of a mental health professional or a good friend.