No one wants to plan on the worst-case scenario. Unfortunately, sometimes that is exactly the scenario that unfolds; and when that happens, it is important to be prepared. A car accident is one such scenario. On the I-10, scraping metal, jarring impact, blaring sirens—a person is easily shaken up after an accident, whether minor or massive. Faced with such stressful circumstances, no one could expect to think clearly and make the best decisions. However, if someone is prepared, he or she won’t have to worry about what to do.
After a car accident, regardless of the damages or liability, there are several key steps to follow to guarantee a smooth resolution. Below are the most important measures for people to take to protect themselves and their car.
1. Check for Safety
First and foremost, it is important to ensure the safety of all parties. Before insurance, liability, or legal details are discussed, getting necessary medical help should be the top priority. And most importantly, remain calm. Panic is the last thing people need in the aftermath of a car accident.
2. Speak Carefully
When someone says, “I’m sorry, I should have paid better attention,” it may just be a polite apology. However, taken in legal context, even something as slight as an apology, can be considered an admission of liability. The only people with whom an individual should discuss the accident are the police, the insurance agent, and his or her attorney. Witnesses of the accident may also be able to offer their views for added information, but the police are the ones who should gather all of the details. Save the good manners for later.
3. Document the Scene
Even minor accidents have the potential to snowball into a larger legal dispute. It is important for people to document the scene of the accident to provide evidence later. Some people even recommend carrying a disposable camera in the glove compartment of the car for such a need. Pictures are vital in sorting through an auto accident. They are reliable and unchanging when compared to the testimonies of witnesses and drivers. There are even apps for your iPhone that can help you through the entire documentation process.
4. Call an Insurance Agent
To get a quote of the damages, a person needs to consult his or her insurance agent. This will be the estimated figure that will cover all damages to the cars involved, based on who is at fault. Not all quotes or companies will be the same. If the first estimate is not satisfactory, an individual should ask for outside quotes from different companies. A second opinion can often be incredibly helpful.
5. Call an Attorney
Before making any final decisions, even if a driver has decided not to pursue major legal action, it is important to discuss the car accident with an attorney. The Law Offices of Michael Cordova will be able to fully assess the situation and any settlement that has been proposed. Having legal help as back up, especially before talking to the other party’s insurance agent, will save that person from a potential future mess. Enduring a car accident is headache enough; seeking legal help from Michael Cordova, even just as support, will save a driver all the unnecessary trouble afterward.