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Getting into a car accident is a stressful and chaotic experience to deal with. You’ve got a million things on your mind such as injuries, replacing your vehicle, determination of fault, and dealing with the insurance company. It’s not uncommon to experience elevated physical, emotional, or financial stress. Here are seven things you should always do after an accident to make the aftermath less stressful.
1.Evaluate the Situation
The very first thing you should do is ensure everyone in your vehicle, the other vehicle, and any individuals standing by aren’t seriously injured. It’s normal for people involved in an accident to experience shock and not even know it due to the adrenaline rush and commotion. Don’t move any individual who complains of any back or neck pain since it can cause further injury. Have everyone move to the sidewalk or side of the road to safety until emergency personnel can get there.
2. Call 911
You should always call 911 when you get into an accident, even if it’s minor so that you have a police report on record. Professionals can assess the situation and determine if anyone needs to receive further medical care. Injuries aren’t always immediately obvious after a car accident.
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3. Provide and Exchange Information
Once you know everyone is physically ok, it’s time to provide and receive the necessary information to file an insurance claim in the future. The police will ask questions to figure out what happened. They will take the information they gather and determine who to ticket and include their findings in the report. The insurance company will use this information to decide who is at fault. Never admit fault. Allow the insurance adjuster to evaluate the facts and come to their own conclusion. Some pieces of crucial information include:
- Names and contact information for all parties
- Description of the vehicle(s)
- Time and location of the incident
4. Seek Medical Care
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You might be tempted to sign off on receiving medical care after an accident, but you should always get checked out. Issues can surface days or weeks later, and if there is no record of it, you might experience a hassle trying to get insurance to pay for it. If you have any of the following symptoms you should definitely get checked out:
- Back or neck pain
- Dizziness, blurred vision, or nausea
Document any visit summaries, medical bills, referrals, recommendations, and any other relevant information that might be relevant to the insurance company for the claim.
In Ontario, notably, automobile laws can be difficult to navigate for the average individual, especially when it comes to litigation and injuries.
According to Jeffrey Preszler from Preszler Law Attorneys In Ontario, Ontario courts assume that the day an injury was discovered is the same day that the accident occurred, but plaintiffs will have the opportunity to prove otherwise if the case goes to litigation. This is why it's so important to seek medical care and have documentation of any injuries to prevent discrepancies or hurt your chances of receiving reimbursement in a legal case.
5. File the Claim
Now you have to actually file your claim with the insurance company. You should be equipped with all the information that you need if you kept good documentation. The insurance company will take the information you give them and initiate a claim to figure out the fault, replacing or repairing the vehicle, receiving money for lost wages if you missed work, and any other benefits you might be eligible for such as a rental car. Expect to deal with a lot of phone calls from the different departments and you’ll need to email, fax, or mail various documents to your insurance company while the claim is being processed. Always ensure you follow up when anyone contacts you for information and verify that they receive it to prevent delays with settling the claim.
6. Contact a Lawyer
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You might be tempted to handle the situation on your own, but your outcome might be better if you contact a professional. There’s a lot to deal with such as the doctors, insurance company, billing departments, repair shop, rental car company, and whatever else may come up. Having someone to guide you through the process eases stress. If you are dealing with injuries, it’s even more important to seek advice because it’s an uncommon territory, particularly if you’re trying to recover costs for injuries, lost wages, and time.
An accident is a stressful event and can even be traumatic. Following these steps after a car accident can ease the process and ensure everything gets taken care of so you can move on with your life.