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So You’ve Been in a Car Accident: What to Do First

Having a car accident can leave a person feeling distracted and scatterbrained. Having a kit or a few items in your car, like a pad and pen, your organized insurance and registration information, and some road flares or small warning cones, can help. But regardless of whether or not you’ve prepped ahead of time, there are a few steps to take directly after an accident, and knowing what they are before the crash can help you keep calm and ensure that your interests and rights are protected.

Safety First

After an accident, the first priority is always safety. If the accident is minor, always remove the cars from the road lanes, or at least out of the way of traffic as best you can. Leaving cars in the road unnecessarily can cause even more collisions with other drivers not expecting to find stationary obstacles in the roadway. If the cars cannot be moved but the occupants can be moved safely, the occupants should move far away from the roadway to ensure they are not injured by traffic on the road. If someone is injured, even if it doesn’t seem that bad, call 911, both to protect everyone’s safety and to make a record of injuries for future disputes. In any case, contact the police. If you have road flares or warning cones with you, set them up to warn oncoming motorists. Only turn to consider insurance and legal concerns after all safety issues have been addressed.

Documents and Insurance

After safety has been attended to, you can begin gathering and sharing applicable information. After an accident, write down the names and contact information of everyone involved. Note the make, model, and year of the cars, as well the insurance carriers and policy numbers. Also remember to take photos. Take pictures of damage to your vehicle, damage to the other vehicles, the accident location, and, if you can, the people involved in the accident. If police are on the scene, document their names, badge numbers, and contact information, as well as the police report number. Record any injuries, medical treatments applied, and your best account of what happened. All of this information will assist you in filing your claim with your insurance company as well as bringing any suits necessary later down the line.

Seek Some Help

Nobody ever wants to be involved in a car accident. But with some preparation and an understanding of what to do if you’re ever involved in one, protecting your interests and ensuring you receive the best possible outcome can be fairly simple.

After you’ve taken these steps and left the scene, consider taking one more step to protect yourself. Seek out legal counsel. At Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian, we have experiencing advising in all manner of personal injury issues, including auto accidents. If you’ve been in a car accident and believe you have grounds for a lawsuit or would like to discuss and explore your options, contact Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian, Lawyers and Counselors at Law at any of our offices in Tampa, Palm Harbor, and Land O’Lakes. Call toll-free at 1 (800) 227-2275 for a consultation today.

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