What To Do After A Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault
Car accidents have become increasingly common in recent years. Last year, crash fatalities hit a record high nationwide, according to car accident statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2021, a record 42,915 people died in fatal crashes nationwide, the most fatalities in a single year since 2005.
So, what should you do if you're involved in a car accident caused by another driver? What steps should you take immediately after your crash? What about a few hours or a few days later? Taking such steps is vital to protect your health and your legal rights. Otherwise, you might not get the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Proving fault in a car crash
First, it's crucial to establish that the car accident was not your fault. How do you prove you're not responsible for the crash? One of the best ways is to gather evidence at the crash scene. Insurance companies often decide who was at fault, and you need evidence to support your claim.
What to do immediately after a car accident
If another driver caused your collision, taking specific steps immediately after your car accident is essential, including:
- Call the police and tell them you've been involved in a car crash.
- Ask the police to send an ambulance if you or anyone else is injured.
- Get the name and contact information of any potential witnesses. Statements from eyewitnesses can help build a strong case supporting your claim.
- Take pictures of your crash site. Include all property damage, tire marks, street signs, traffic signals, construction, and visible injuries. Try to capture the crash scene from every angle, if possible.
- Get the other driver's name, address, phone number, driver's license number, and insurance information if it's safe to do so. If there's too much traffic or the driver appears drunk or aggressive, wait in your car for the police to arrive.
- Give the same information about yourself to the other driver or the investigating police officer.
- Don't discuss your car accident with anyone at the crash scene. Anything you say in the immediate aftermath of a car accident could be used against you (e.g., I'm sorry, I didn't see you, etc.).
Steps to take soon after a car crash
So, your car accident happened a few hours or days ago. Now, what should you do? Here are some steps you can take to protect your health and your legal rights:
- Call a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Evidence can weaken or disappear over time, so the sooner you have an attorney handling your claim, the better.
- Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Even if a medical professional examined you after your crash, you should have a doctor check you out a second time. Many car accident injuries, including whiplash and concussions, take several hours or days to develop after a crash.
- Follow your doctor's advice. Failure to do so could compromise your health and your potential claim.
- Call your insurance company and tell them you have been in an accident. Stick to the facts and don't go into too much detail.
- If the other driver's insurance company calls you, don't talk to them. Anything you say could be used to deny your claim.
- Don't post anything online or on social media about your car accident. Such comments could later be used against you to deny your claim.
After a car accident, you should always do the following:
- Report your car accident to the police.
- Get a copy of your official accident report. Each state has its own unique report. Your lawyer can get a copy and help you better understand your car accident report.
- Seek medical attention to diagnose and document any potential injuries.
- Call your insurance company and tell them you've been involved in a car crash.
- Contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to review your legal rights and options.
How a car accident lawyer can help
Your lawyer can investigate your accident and gather evidence supporting your injury claim. Without solid evidence, you might have difficulty getting the money you rightfully deserve for your accident-related expenses.
The experienced car accident attorneys at Recht Law Offices can help you every step of the way. Founded in 1952, our law firm takes pride in helping crash victims when they need us most.
We handle injury claims in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In addition, we offer legal representation on a contingency fee basis. That means you pay no fees unless we secure a financial settlement or verdict for you. Call us now to learn more. We know how to help.