A car accident can be debilitating and can come at the most unexpected times. None of us want to believe that it could ever happen to us. However, when it does happen, it’s important to be prepared and have a plan of action on how to proceed. Take a look at these five steps to take after a car accident if you live in Alabama so that you know what to do if the time ever comes.
1. If you are hurt, get medical help.
Although it may seem more crucial to assess damage to your vehicle and write down the information of others involved in the crash, the most important first step is to take care of yourself. Oftentimes, the driver does not know that he or she has been in an accident. Adrenaline released during the event will stop a person from feeling pain until a certain amount of time has elapsed. This means that, if you are not actively checking yourself out and looking for injuries, you may sustain serious damage. You should always get treatment for any symptoms, including those that seem minor, such as dizziness or small aches and pains, because over the course of several days or weeks, these can develop into serious problems.
2. Get the information of everyone involved in the accident.
After you have taken care of yourself, assess the damage to your vehicle and, most importantly, remain on the scene. Take down the name, contact information, drivers license information, and insurance information of others involved in the accident. Record their license plate and the make and model of their car. You want to make sure that you will be able to find them later when you file an insurance or legal claim.
3. Document the event.
If your claim ends up reaching court, you will want to have evidence of the damage that was sustained to your vehicle, as well as accounts of your lack of fault in the crash. You should always stay at the scene, and do your best to take photos of the damage to your car, the damage to any other vehicles involved and the site. You can also take witness statements from those present at the site. Although this is something an attorney will do as well, asking a witness immediately after the event happens can provide much more reliable information. You can also keep a journal where you write down everything that you remember about the accident, as well as anything that occurs afterward (including how you feel).
4. Report the accident.
The state of Alabama requires that you report the accident to the Alabama Department of Public Safety, or you may be at risk of losing your license. You should also call the police if the damage to your vehicle or person is significant.
5. Consult an attorney.
Although you can file a claim on your own, an attorney can help you negotiate the highest possible settlement, and is especially helpful if you have been injured in the accident and cannot concentrate on legal issues while recovering.
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