One of the most emotional incidents that can happen to us is to be involved in a car accident anywhere around Greater Charlotte. “All accidents are stressful and unexpected,” says Thomas Bumgardner of Ballantyne Legal. “Even the most careful drivers are at risk of being involved in a car accident, even if it was not their fault.” Even though nobody can really prepare for a car accident, you can become aware of steps to take if you are ever involved.
- Take a deep breath and stay calm. You may need to assist other people involved in the accident so being relatively calm can help others.
- Check others for injuries. If there is any doubt if somebody is injured or not, call an ambulance to the scene.
- If the accident is minor, move it to the side of the road. You will be able to tell if the accident is minor and if it is safe to move the vehicles to the side of the road.
- Turn on your car’s hazard lights. This is a great warning to other cars and drivers that your car has a problem.
- Call the police. Regardless of the minor damage to any cars involved, you need to call the police so the accident and people’s names are on the record.
- Call your insurance company. You need to notify your insurance company that you have been involved in a car accident.
- Make immediate notes about the accident. These are notes that you write down in your phone or on a note pad. Make notes about the weather conditions, the license plates involved, posted speed limits, any glaring distractions, and any other note that may assist you later on.
- Never sign anything except police papers. Do not sign anything unless asked by the police department.
- Be polite but don’t admit anything! This may sound politically incorrect, but even if the car accident was your fault, you should not say anything to that effect. Limit your comments and discussion to the police on the scene.
- Don’t leave the scene. Never leave the scene of the accident until the police and other drivers have left. Be the last one to leave!
“Emotions can be high immediately following a car accident,” says Bumgardner. “But you need to keep calm and remember that there are important things that you must do immediately following the accident and soon after you are cleared to leave the accident.”
One of the most important things that you can do at the scene of the accident is to snap photos of the car positions and the cars themselves with your smartphone. “Pictures of your car taken before and after the accident can show insurance companies and legal members the extent of the accident’s damage,” says Bumgardner. “Photos help the insurance adjustor know how much you should be compensated for the damage.”
BONUS ADVICE: If you have been injured, keep track of medical expenses and never sign any early offer settlements!
“If anyone was injured in the accident, it’s best to consult an experienced car accident and personal injury law firm like us,” said Bumgardner. “We can help you maximize your recovery if you’re injured or better defend yourself if you’re at fault.”