It's tough to handle yourself well after an accident. You're rattled, possibly injured, and there may be a lot of people around you with emotions running high. If you are not very careful about what you say and what you do then you can have a detrimental effect on the outcome of any case or claim that results from it.
First thing, you need to check yourself for injuries and get yourself to a hospital if they are severe.
Once you've determined that you, and any other parties involved, are ok you want to make sure you get as much information as possible about the accident.
Always remember the following should you ever find yourself in a car accident:
- Never admit fault to anyone! Not even the police or insurance agents. There are a lot of reasons for this. The most important being you could be wrong and it's not your fault but since you admitted it, it's taken as fact. Even saying “I'm sorry” to the other driver could be taken as admitting responsibility.
- Go to a doctor. You may not have injuries that need taken care of immediately but you could still be hurt. Let a doctor look you over and document any injuries, so if they crop up later you have proof they came from the accident.
- Take pictures. Having a friend or a witness is great but having pictures of the accident will do wonders for your case. Also, take pictures of any injuries while they are fresh. That way no one can downplay their severity later after they have healed. As much as you don't want to think about having to battle out the insurance company, this photo evidence can do wonders for your case.
- Take notes. As I mentioned, an accident can rattle you pretty badly so you need to write down all the details while it's fresh. Later on it may all seem like just a blur to you, especially if your case or claim takes a long time to process.
- Get a copy of the police report so you can verify the facts.
- Get in touch with a lawyer. Many of these cases can be impossible without help so you need someone, like a personal injury attorney, in your corner to protect your rights.