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It can only take a split second for everything in your life to change if you are involved in a vehicle accident and you suffer some bad injuries that become a permanent issue that you need to contend with or need months of rehabilitation.
When you are hurt in a wreck and need to claim some compensation to help you cover your medical bills and loss of earnings it is clear that you will need to get some professional help to assist you with your efforts to get what is due to you.
In order to improve your chances of making a successful claim there are a number of steps that you need to take in the immediate aftermath of the collision.
Here are some pointers on what you need to do if you are involved in a vehicle accident.
Immediately assess the situation
It can be very distressing and disorientating when you suddenly find yourself involved in an auto accident but if you are able to do so it would be highly advisable to try and assess the situation as quickly as possible after the impact.
Your key priority should be safety. Therefore, you will need to check whether you or any passengers have any injuries and whether your vehicle is in any state to be moved to a safer located by the roadside.
If you are approached by the other party and they want to talk to you about the accident it is not a good idea to get involved in a discussion about the collision at this point and you do not want to admit any sort of liability, regardless of the circumstances.
Evaluate your injuries
Having assessed the situation and taken the opportunity to get yourself to a point of safety, if you are able to move, the next step should be to evaluate the extent of your injuries.
Remember, certain injuries such as whiplash, don’t always reveal themselves immediately after a crash and it might take a few hours or even days before the true extent of your injuries comes to light.
Always call the emergency services so that the police can attend and you can get checked by a medical team to see if you need to go to a hospital for further checks.
If you are advised to go to a hospital or the medical staff wants to assess you at the roadside you should accept their suggestions as any refusal could have a detrimental impact on your ability to make a successful compensation claim.
Liaise with the police
The details and evidence surrounding the accident that is collected by the police can often be crucial in supporting your subsequent claim for compensation.
Provide them with an accurate account of what happened and ask the police to provide you with a copy of the report that they file in relation to the accident.
Having this accurate documentation on record will help to clarify any subsequent questions or disputes that are raised at a later stage when your claim is being processed.
It’s a good idea to make your own notes
It can help to write down your own detailed notes about the incident, which includes details of other parties involved and vehicle details etc.
If you have the chance to take some images of the accident scene using the camera on your phone this could prove to be very helpful when you are being asked to clarify certain aspects of the accident at some point in the future.
If you have a dashcam fitted that would be very helpful but if you don’t have one installed any photos or videos that you take at the time could prove useful in supporting your claim and confirming your version of events.
Don’t forget to exchange information
Your number one priority is to ensure that you and your passengers have their injuries assessed and medical attention is sought where required.
Once you have done this and you are able to focus on the circumstances that lead to the collision it is vital that you take the opportunity to collect and exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident.
Make sure you get the driver’s full name and address details together with a contact telephone number of possible.
Ask for the other parties’ driver license information and take note of the make, model, and license plate number.
Make a note of witness details
As well as obtaining driver details you should also try and collect the name and address information of any witnesses to the accident.
You will want their contact details so that they can be contacted at a later stage and provide supporting details of what they saw and other relevant observations
Tell your insurance company about the accident
It is fair to say that you probably won’t be thinking about calling your insurance company at the scene of the accident, especially if you have an injury that needs attention.
Remember to get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible afterward as you will want to get your vehicle checked and arrange for repairs to be undertaken as quickly as possible.
Find a lawyer
If you have suffered an injury or some sort of financial loss as a result of the accident you will want to claim the compensation that you might be entitled to.
It is worth remembering that if you have injuries that need ongoing medical attention or required treatment for something like a whiplash injury you will want to appoint a lawyer who has a track record of winning compensation in these circumstances.
You might have medical bills to pay or suffered the loss of earnings if you had to take time off work, which is why it makes sense to get some professional representation and use a personal injury lawyer who should be able to help you get a financial award.
Follow these basic but essential steps after an accident and your diligence could be rewarded if your compensation claim is successful.