10 THINGS TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
Car Accident In Hawai`i
1. Stop, take a deep breath, and stay calm.
Being involved in a car accident can be very stressful. The natural reaction will be panic and frustration. Don’t move the vehicles unless you need to. As a safety precaution, stay in your vehicle as long as it is safe to do so. Keep seatbelts fastened and turn on the hazard lights while waiting for help to arrive. If you are in shock, you may cause injuries to worsen by moving around immediately after the accident.
If you do need to move the vehicles, take pictures before the vehicles are moved. The placement of the vehicle at impact, including skid marks on the road, can be used as evidence to prove or disprove fault for the collision. Even if the accident is minor, do not leave the scene until the appropriate information is exchanged. Leaving the scene of a car accident could subject you to criminal charges.
2. Call the police.
Even if there is minor property damage and the injuries are not serious call the police and request that a report be prepared. The police will collect a lot of information that will help you recover money for your damages and injuries. Having an officer gather all the evidence and decide whether a traffic violation occurred can go a long way to guard against a dishonest party. Police officers will also alert the paramedics to the scene of the accident if necessary.
3. Take pictures.
Take photos of the property damage to your car, the other driver’s car, and any bodily injuries. Pictures say a thousand words. Having visual documentation of your injuries and damage to your vehicle is imperative in recovering from insurance companies.
4. Exchange information with the other driver.
Be sure to collect the other driver’s contact and insurance information. Keep your exchange with them brief, as they may try to use a statement you made at the scene in a subsequent lawsuit.
5. Do not admit fault.
Regardless of the attitude displayed by the other driver, never engage in a conversation about the incident. You don’t want to admit to something in a state of shock or empathy for the other driver. After a collision, your adrenaline is high, and making decisions in this state of mind could hurt your chance at a settlement.
5. Do not comment on your injuries.
The truth is you don’t know if you are injured or not. After an accident, your adrenaline will be rushing, and it may take several hours for you to realize you have been injured. As such, you are unable to correctly evaluate your injuries. Some injuries take time to manifest and pain often begins and becomes worse within days after an accident.
7. Seek medical attention.
A trip to the hospital may not always be necessary, but paramedics should always check you out at the scene. In fact, some injuries do not manifest for up to 24 – 72 hours later. You should not assume that injuries and pain will resolve on their own. Immediately seeking medical attention will allow your medical provider to look into common injury areas and help defend against the insurance adjusters who will use the lack of medical documentation against you.
8. File a claim.
Contact your insurance provider and submit a claim, even if you were not at fault. You may have Medical Payments coverage, which helps pay medical bills as they come in. You should also contact the other driver’s insurance provider to submit a claim. Never provide a statement without consulting a lawyer first. Also, you should not settle with an insurance carrier unless you know the full nature and extent of your injuries and damages.
9. Keep a file of all the accident-related documentation.
Be sure to keep all accident-related documentation together. This includes the police report number, insurance claim information, receipts of all expenses incurred, and the contact information of any witnesses.
10. Consult a lawyer.
One of the most important things to do after a car accident in Hawai`i is to consult with an attorney. An attorney can protect your rights and ensure valuable evidence is not destroyed. The lawyers at the Attorneys For Freedom Law Firm are not intimidated by insurance companies and are willing to go to court if necessary, to assert your rights. We offer free strategy sessions on all personal injury cases. We are available 24/7/365, and we stand ready to help.