5 Steps to Filing Charges After an Accident
It can seem overwhelming if you've been involved in an accident and aren't sure what to do next. It all happens so fast! You may be tempted to speak to the other driver or even to a news crew if they show up. There are some steps to take as well as things to avoid so as not to misconstrue the details and to properly file charges after an accident.
- Seek medical attention. First and foremost seek medical attention. If the police and other first responders are not already on the way, call 911. Anything from a bruise to broken bones or worse should be checked out by a medical professional. Getting to a doctor right after an accident ensures that you are getting proper care and that medical records are precise in detailing any injuries. Even if you think it's only a soft-tissue injury or a minor cut and nothing feels broken you should see your doctor or go to the hospital.
- Contact YOUR insurance company. Speak only to YOUR insurance company about any details. The other driver’s insurance company might try to contact you and may not have your best interests in mind. If ever in doubt about who to speak to or what to say, your legal representative will advise you accordingly. As a general rule, when in doubt, talk to your lawyer. Also, don’t automatically accept the appraisal or estimate of your losses provided to you by the insurance representative. They likely won’t have all the pertinent information to determine the value of your claim.
- Document the accident. Take pictures of yourself and of the vehicles at the scene and write down all events as you remember them. Notate everything! Doing this while it’s fresh in your mind is important! Take pictures and video of your injuries and any damage to your vehicle. These photos and videos will be valuable to your case. Cuts, scrapes and bruises heal quickly, so having immediate photos of any injuries will go a long way. Post-accident journals are also useful when your claim is being reviewed by your attorney, or even just for your own reference to refer back to at a later date. These journals should also be used to keep track of any expenses as they incur, along with receipts.
- Don't admit fault. At the scene of the accident, there will be a lot of commotion, it may be somewhat confusing as police are asking questions, and other persons involved may be trying to speak with you. They may think you were at fault. The laws are complex and for this reason it's best to let the evidence speak rather than to make assumptions. Police will inquire about what led to the accident, it's ok to answer with “I’m not sure” rather than provide inaccurate details. You're not expected to recall the exact details immediately as you could be disoriented, especially if you've been injured. If any witnesses are at the scene the police will speak to them.
- Hire an attorney. Although you can certainly settle an accident claim on your own, there's many factors to consider. After an accident, the gathering of evidence and witness accounts, medical records and any related costs, is a lot to keep track of. When you hire an attorney they will be your ally and they will have the expertise to make sure you have the best outcome possible. They will work for you and with you throughout the entire process.
Alexander Law Group, PLC has the experience needed to ensure that you are properly represented throughout the process if you have been involved in an accident. Our personal injury team will be there for you. Give us a call at (804) 271-1969 or visit us online.