Want to make sure you get the max money you deserve after you’re hurt in a St. Louis car accident? Follow these 8 steps to give your claim strong credibility.
You don’t have a checklist for what you’re going to do after you’ve been involved in a car accident. No one does. After all, no one expects to be involved in a collision.
And what reasonable person thinks like a lawyer immediately following a car accident?
But, odds are, you’re probably going to be involved in at least one motor vehicle collision during the course of your lifetime.
If you are involved in a car accident it is absolutely imperative that you take certain steps to build the most legal credibility for your side of the story.
So here’s what to do:
- Your First Steps Depend on Your Own Injuries
First, you need to check yourself for any injuries. You can only be helpful if you aren’t severely injured.
If it’s extremely painful to move, don’t do it. You could make your injuries even worse. Instead, call 911 with your smartphone. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive, and follow their directions.
- If You Aren’t Seriously Injured, Take These Steps
After you check your injuries, check on your passengers. Check on any other driver(s)/passenger(s) involved in the collision as well.
DO NOT EVER use the word “sorry,” even if you just want to say it to help everyone feel better and calm down. Insurance companies will attempt to use it as an admission of guilt to minimize or deny your claim.
Call 911 if anyone’s injured – even if it is just minor soreness, bruising, or a headache. You also want to do this because your injuries could be more severe than you think – and you will often feel worse when your adrenaline goes down. You want a documented paper trail to build credibility with your case.
- Now It’s Time for Pictures and Videos
Whether the accident is major or minor, you want plenty of visual evidence. Smartphones take pictures fast, so take advantage of that feature right now.
Take pictures of all cars from all angles of the accident, and get a shot of the other driver’s license plate too. Shoot a brief video describing what you thought happened.
- Move Your Vehicle If It’s a Minor Accident
Once you have evidence, then you can move your car. If it’s a major accident, or if you’re simply uncomfortable, don’t move your car.
- Collect Witness and Driver Information
This is what you should get at minimum:
- Their name
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
Do the same for all witnesses at the scene, and consider getting a brief recorded statement of what they saw if you can.
- If the Police Refuse to Come or Investigate…
Simply exchange insurance info with the other driver. You’ve already collected strong evidence, so you have what you need to support your case.
- Don’t Make This Mistake!
Don’t assume that since you got rear-ended, that you don’t need to call the police. Insurers will try to say you stopped too suddenly.
Call the police so you can get a report to back up your case.
- Now You Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
Don’t talk to the insurance company’s claims adjuster. It’s their job to minimize or deny your claim.
Call a personal injury lawyer instead. It’s free for a consultation. And the worst that can happen is they tell you what kind of offer you should accept from the insurance company.
What if you can’t remember all these steps?
No sweat – it’s not reasonable to expect you to keep track of them all.
So, we’ve created a free auto accident app for iPhone and Android so you know what to do when an accident happens.