About a year ago, I was in a bad car accident. Both me and my husband were a bit banged up. But overall, we were ok.
I'll spare you the details of how it happened.
Unfortunately my little Mazda wasn't so lucky. It was totaled. I loved that car and just thinking about it makes me a little sad.
I ended up getting an SUV to replace it. As much as I loved the Mazda, my new ride is great. Plus, it's a stick shift, which is an option that's quickly disappearing from the market.
Accidents happen all the time. And today, I wanted to discuss the right way to do things so you don't end up getting screwed over by your insurance company or another driver.
1. Are You OK?
Before you do anything else, make sure you and your passengers are ok. It's completely normal to get that feeling of "I have to do something!". But what's most important is taking a deep breath and assessing the situation.
Then check on everyone else, including the drivers and passengers of other vehicles involved. Ask if they need immediate medical attention. If they're unconscious, call 911 immediately.
2. Peep the Situation
Look around. Are there any oil spots on the road where one of the vehicles could slide? What about ice?
Pull out your phone and take some pictures before you touch anything. If there are no serious injuries, call the police and ask them if it's ok for you to move the vehicles off of the road if they're still operable. However, the person on the receiving end may tell you to leave the scene as is and not touch anything so the officers can inspect the scene without it being altered in any way.
3. Never Ever Have I
Do not admit to fault in the accident. Don't even say you're sorry. Saying anything like that could be taken as you admitting that the accident was your fault and can be used against you in court and with the insurance companies.
4. All the Reports
After everything with the police is handled, you'll want to call the insurance company and seek medical attention.
The worst may be over but you need to keep a steady head and handle these things in a timely manner. Don't wait to contact your insurance company for a week or two. Get it handled immediately. You pay them to take care of these kinds of issues, so get your money's worth.
Even if you aren't hurt, it's important to go to the hospital and get a full check up. Thanks to adrenaline, you could be injured and you just aren't feeling it yet.
5. Lawyer Up
Consult your attorney, even if it's a fender bender. If you don't have one, there are lawyers out there that specialize in this kind of scenario, such as Zanes Law .
When it comes to accidents, other drivers and insurance companies may not be in your corner, but your lawyer will be. They can advise you on how to proceed, what to say, and what you can do. Go speak with one as soon as you can to find out what you options are.
The Bottom Line
Being in a car accident is an unfortunate event for everyone involved. Following the proper steps will keep everyone in the loop and legally protected.
Every situation has its fair share of hiccups, so the above instructions can help what happens next go much smoother. However, there is never a guarantee that things will go your way. This is why the last step is so important.