A car accident is terrifying for everyone involved, and not knowing what to do after the accident makes the situation even worse. If you’re reading this because you’re concerned about what to do after your Baltimore car crash, you’re in the right place.
During this challenging time, Zirkin & Schmerling Law is here by your side to help you understand your options. This article provides a roadmap to help you determine your next steps, protect your legal rights, and reach out to the right people after the accident.
#1 – Stay Calm
Immediately after the crash, take a deep breath and make sure everyone in your car is okay. Check for any injuries and make sure the situation is safe. Don’t move anyone who may have a head, neck, or back injury.
After you have checked on everyone in your car, check on the driver and passengers in the other vehicle. If anyone has been injured call for emergency medical assistance.
#2 – Call The Police
Contact the police and report what happened. One of the most important things you can do is ask for a police report documenting the accident.
Some drivers may offer to settle without talking to the police or contacting your insurance company. Don’t do it! The police can provide an accident report that may corroborate your version of events and help establish fault.
#3 – Gather Information
While you are waiting for the police, gather your driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance to expedite the process. The police will ask you for all of this information when they arrive.
You should also take pictures of both vehicles, the other driver’s license plate, and the accident scene. Now could be your last chance to create a visual record of the crash scene.
#4 – Exchange Insurance Information
Ask the other driver for their insurance information. Take a picture of their insurance card. Also take a picture of their license.
When the police arrive, make sure to write down the name of the officer as well as the police report number. If they don’t give you a copy of the police report, inquire as to where you could find it later.
#5 – Listen Closely
Do not say anything to anyone other than the police Also make sure to listen carefully to what everyone else says. Avoid discussing the accident directly with the other driver When you get home write down everything that was said at the scene. This could become very important information for your case.
Keep in mind that what you say at the scene could be used against you later on. Often you won’t feel the pain from the car accident right away because of your adrenaline rush. If you tell the other driver that you feel ok or that you feel fine that will be used against you in court.
Keep your ears open. If the other driver admits fault or apologizes for the accident, write down exactly what you heard and the circumstances of how they said it.
#6 – Record Details
Start a journal about the accident and write down all of the details that you can remember. If you believe someone may have witnessed the accident, record anything you know about them. Include seemingly small details like the weather, debris on the road, and nearby road signs. Also include where the witness was located when the crash took place and make sure to write down all of the witness information including their name, address, and phone number.
In your journal, be sure to include any details about your injuries and how they are affecting your daily life. Be specific and detailed. This information is very useful in determining who pays for the medical bills in a car accident.
#7 – Call a Doctor
See a doctor immediately if you are experiencing pain or discomfort of any kind. If you put off seeking treatment, an insurance company could use your delay to deny payment.
You can file a no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) claim for your medical bills and up to 85% of any wages you lost because of the accident. Be sure to keep accurate records of all your doctor visits and medical expenses, and follow all of your doctor’s instructions. We should have this link to the page that we just did that talks about PIP and MedPay.
# 8 – Call Your Insurance Company
If any vehicles were damaged in the accident, you should immediately contact your insurance company. They will be able to provide you with further instructions about what to do next and where to have your car repaired.
Uninsured drivers must take extra care after car accidents. If you were uninsured at the time of the accident, our article on uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Maryland will help guide you on how to handle it.
# 9 – Don’t Speak With Another Insurance Company
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is discussing the car accident with the other driver’s insurance company. If they contact you, simply write down their contact information and inform them that you have a lawyer. Don’t speak to them beyond that. Often the insurance company will try to offer a small quick settlement. Don’t even think about it. The insurance company knows that if you take this settlement it can save them thousands of dollars down the road. That is money that you deserve for your injuries. Don’t let the insurance company try to trick you into this.
Remember, the other driver’s insurance doesn’t have your best interests in mind. Your lawyer will see through the tactics an insurance company uses and help you stay ahead of them at every turn.
#10 – Contact An Experienced Car Accident Attorney
You may be entitled to compensation if you were injured in the accident. An experienced car accident attorney will be able to assess your case and help you understand your options.
Check out our top 7 car accident questions and Maryland auto accident FAQ for more details. Then call Zirkin & Schmerling Law and we’ll help you reach the best possible outcome after your Baltimore car accident.
Have a Legal Question About a Car Accident? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights, the attorneys at Zirkin and Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced car accident lawyers today.