Getting into a car accident in Stuart or Port St Lucie can be quite scary. However, it's important that you keep calm and do the right thing. By making sure you do what you're supposed to, it will be much easier to file an insurance claim or obtain a settlement. The following are the steps you should take as long as you haven't experienced a serious car accident injury:
- Don't leave - The most important thing you need to do is stay at the scene of the accident. If you were at fault, then the consequences can become much more severe if you leave since you will be charged with a hit and run.
- Check for injuries - Make sure none of your passengers have experienced a car accident injury. Check to see if anyone else, such as the driver or passengers of another car, was injured. If anyone is unconscious, do not move them until medical help arrives. The only time you should move someone is if their lives are in danger if you don't.
- Call the police - You should call the police to report the accident, even if no injuries were sustained. They will write up a police report that can be used as proof for your insurance claim. The police report will include statements from the involved parties as well as witnesses.
- Get the other party's information - If you were involved in an accident with another vehicle, make sure you get the names and addresses of everyone inside and that you swap insurance information with the driver. Although you should try to be respectful (you don't want to get into a verbal altercation), do not apologize for anything. Doing so could mean that you're admitting fault, which means you're admitting legal liability.
- Speak with witnesses - Get the names, numbers, and addresses of any witnesses.
- Photograph the damage - Take pictures of the damage that was done as well as of the scene in general. Pictures of the scene of the accident can provide vital information proving that you're not at fault.
- Call your insurer - As soon as you are able to, contact your insurance company and inform them that you were in an accident. Make sure you are truthful and answer any questions that they have. Never lie or exaggerate as this can be grounds for denying your coverage.
- Note your medical treatment - If you were injured in the car accident, make sure that you keep track of all medical treatment you receive. Ask for copies of your medical bills and reports. This allows you to determine how much the insurer needs to cover and can also help you prove your injuries. Make sure to take note of any pain you're feeling as you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering as well.
- Get an estimate - Get an estimate for how much it will cost to repair your car. The insurance company will provide their own estimate, but don't assume that the one they provide is correct.
- Don't be too quick to accept a settlement - Insurance companies will often lowball you in their settlement. They will do this as quickly as possible. However, you may have injuries that you won't realize that you have until later. The settlement may also be well below what you deserve. Always get a lawyer to look over your settlement to determine if it's fair.
Follow these steps if you've gotten into a car accident. Last, but not least, make sure to hire a car accident injury attorney to help strengthen your case. For a free consultation, contact us at the Law Office of Gloria Seidule today.
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