Your brakes squeal, your fenders crease, your heart races.
You’ve been in a car crash. Now, what do you do?
The actions you take after an auto accident can have a significant impact on your physical, financial, emotional, and legal well-being. It’s important that you take the proper steps:
1. Get medical help for the injured
Obviously, the first concern is to get treatment for anyone hurt in the crash as soon as possible. If someone is seriously hurt and you’re capable, call 9-1-1 and provide any medical assistance you can until emergency personnel arrive.
2. Contact the police
Again, if you’re able, call them yourself. Make sure you get the names of the officers, and verify they accurately record your version of events in the accident report. If the crash is minor with no injuries, and law enforcement is unable to respond, you should file your own state vehicle accident report (forms are available at police stations and the Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles website).
3. Document the accident scene
Even if the police do file a report, it’s best to document the crash yourself. Photograph the scene, the damage to each vehicle and any injuries. If a camera is not available, sketch the scene and take detailed notes. If there are any witnesses, record what they saw and get their contact information.
4. Exchange information
Get the name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, drivers license number and license plate number from the driver and owner of each vehicle involved. Be polite and avoid any discussions of fault for the accident.
5. Notify your insurance company
Most insurers require that the policy holder contact them immediately and cooperate as the company determines fault and processes the claim. You’ll likely be instructed to get several estimates for repairing any damage.
6. Contact a lawyer if problems arise with either the insurance company or medical provider
If you’re not receiving acceptable service from your insurer or doctor, you may want to consult an accident attorney. And, if your injuries are severe and the result of the negligence of the other driver, you may need to retain a personal injury lawyer.
Auto accidents are serious business. Make sure you’re serious about taking the necessary steps after you’ve had one.
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