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Millions of people are involved in car accidents every year. They can range from minor accidents, where there is minimal damage to very serious accidents involving catastrophic injuries or death. It is important to know what to do after being in an automobile accident, especially if it was not your fault.
The first and most important step after being in a car accident is to ensure everyone is OK. If anyone has been injured, or appears confused, call for emergency help immediately.
There are some states that allow you to file an accident report online within the days that follow a car accident. While this may sound convenient, it is still best to have an official police report. A police officer can give their point-of-view and communicate who was at fault and how the accident happened. This could become important if the other person’s insurance company denies your claims or slows payment.
It is important to take as many pictures of your car and the surrounding accident scene as possible. Make sure you gather as much information as you can about the other driver and collect the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Even if you do not feel injured or have much damage to your vehicle, sometimes internal injuries take a while to show up.
Even if you were not at fault, contact your own car insurance company and notify them of your accident. They may be able to help you with a rental car or other benefits while you wait for the other person’s insurance company to begin their process of payment. This can also help you is the other driver is underinsured or not insured at all.
If the other driver’s car insurance company does not accept fault or if you have been injured as a result of the car accident, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer immediately. A qualified personal injury lawyer will handle the communications between you and the insurance companies as well as advise you on how to strengthen your case and legal claim should it be necessary to go to court.