A car accident is one of the most stressful situations you can experience. Even if you don’t get injured, the crash’s impact can jar you and lead you to be unaware of what’s happening.
It’s even worse when so many people get hurt because of crashes. We saw 4.8 million people injured because of crashes in 2020.
Making the right choices after a car crash can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to handle the crash the right way. Follow the seven steps below after an auto accident to ensure you get the insurance settlement you deserve.
1. Check for Injuries
Safety is the number one priority after a road accident. Check yourself and everyone else in your car for injuries immediately after the crash. See if anyone has a bad injury or if anyone has soreness that might indicate something worse.
Once you finish checking everyone in your car, turn to the other drivers involved in the accident. If someone is hurt and has trouble moving, try not to agitate them since it can lead to a worse injury.
If someone is injured, call 911 as soon as you find out. The longer you wait to get help, the bigger the chance of the injury getting worse.
2. Move Off the Road
The last thing you want to do after a car accident is to put yourself in more danger. Unfortunately, some people remain on the road instead of moving to safety.
The first thing to do after checking people for injuries is to get everyone to safety. If you can move the cars involved, get them to the side of the road. If there isn’t a shoulder to move the cars to, see if there is somewhere close to head to.
If you can’t move the cars because of damage, turn the blinkers on and move everyone to the side of the road.
3. Call the Police
Once you confirm that everyone is okay, it’s time to call the police to the scene. You’ll need a police report to give to your insurance company. This will give you official documentation of the accident and make it easier to handle your case.
Unfortunately, depending on the severity of the crash, the police may not arrive at the scene. In cases like this, you can still travel to the police station to file a report.
Some insurance companies may be able to process your claim without a police report. However, having a police report will make the process easier and help your case.
4. Document the Scene
You need to provide as much information as possible to the insurance company if you want to get the best offer from them. Their job isn’t to give you the most money possible. If they can get away with offering a lower settlement amount, that’s what will happen.
Offering as much information as possible to your insurance company will help your case. Here are a few items to document and send:
- Insurance information
- Drivers license
- Injury information
- Vehicle damage
- Car makes and models
- Witness information
Of course, there is more information available based on your situation. If something appears to help with your case, document it and send it along.
5. File Your Claim
Once you have all the documentation from the scene and a police report, you can contact the insurance company to start the claim process. Whether you’re responsible for the accident or the victim, make sure you contact your insurance company. They will want to know what’s going on.
Once you notify your insurance company, determine who to contact to process your claim. If you aren’t sure of what to do, your insurance company can help you through the process.
You’ll send all the documentation you collected once you contact the claims department. Once you complete this step and fill out the claim form, the insurance company will start processing your claim.
6. Wait for the Claim Result
Once you submit your claim to the insurance company, it’s a waiting game. The insurance provider needs to do its own investigation. The company will assign an insurance adjuster to your case and have them review all the details.
The information they find will determine what type of settlement you get. For instance, if it costs too much to repair your car, the insurance company will recommend totaling it and buying a new vehicle.
The critical thing to remember about this process is that other things may come up while waiting. If you are injured, you may incur additional costs due to medical treatment and travel expenses. Keep track of these things for your insurance company so they know what expenses you have because of the accident.
7. Receive the Settlement
You have a decision to make when the insurance company offers a settlement. It will be a reasonable settlement in most situations. You’ll receive the money to take care of your expenses and can move forward with your life.
But there are also situations when the insurance company doesn’t do the right thing. In cases like this, you may need to hire an accident lawyer to get help.
Lawyers for accidents can examine your case and recommend a path forward that maximizes your settlement. Contact this local lawyer to learn more about dealing with accident cases.
Handle a Car Accident the Right Way
The aftermath of car accidents can be challenging to navigate. You have a ton going on, and making the wrong choice can impact your ability to get help from insurance.
But there are a few steps you can take to ensure you handle things the right way. Follow the guide above to navigate the car accident scene and submit an insurance claim that gets you the settlement you deserve.
Are you interested in reading more guides that will help you navigate other stressful situations? Head back to the blog to read the latest posts.