What is the first step you should take when you get into an accident?

Exit the vehicle if you can and turn on the emergency flashers. In the meantime, evaluate your injuries. Were you hurt enough to need medical attention? If so, call 911 so they can send emergency personnel. After moving your car to a safe location, call the police and let them know you've been in a car accident.

In some states, including Tennessee, you are legally required to report the accident. Never leave the scene of the accident until it is appropriate to do so. If you leave, especially when someone has been injured or died, you may face serious criminal penalties for being a hit-and-run driver. After the car accident, immediately determine if someone was injured.

If so, call 911 for an ambulance and police to arrive at the scene. Even if the incident was minor and everyone is cooperating, consider calling the police. That way, you'll have an official report to hand over to your insurance company. If the other driver didn't have insurance or didn't have enough coverage to pay your bills, uninsured or underinsured motorist coverages would pay.

Uninsured motorist coverage is required in 21 states and the District of Columbia, and some of those states also require coverage for underinsured motorists. In fact, a report by the Consumer Federation of America indicated that some companies will even increase rates by 10% or more for accidents that weren't their fault. However, other policies only charge a price increase if you are at fault. Even the amount of time an accident affects your rates varies by state and company.

After the accident, you may have gone to the emergency room or received some kind of medical attention. You must go to all follow-up appointments. If you were prescribed physical therapy, do not skip sessions. Too often, people skip or delay their follow-up care, sometimes because they're worried about paying medical bills.

However, this can be used against you if you file a personal injury lawsuit. The insurance company may try to use it as proof that you were not seriously injured. This step is essential for many reasons. The first priority in any accident is to care for anyone injured, and the best way to do this is to call an ambulance and trained emergency medical personnel.

Often, under the stress and surprise of such a traumatic event as a car accident, people cannot take a step back and think about what to do and what evidence might be important to gather right there at the scene of the accident. Keep this information handy by printing this helpful booklet on the first steps after a car accident and keep it in your car. Even though after an accident you will have a million things on your mind, following these steps is vitally important to getting the justice and full compensation you are entitled to once the aftermath of the accident has been established. Learn what to do in the event of a car accident and the steps to follow after an accident in order to protect your rights.

By following those steps or having a friend or family member follow those steps for you at the scene, you will have gathered a wealth of useful evidence to help your car accident lawyer prepare the best possible personal injury case for you.

Nicole Diegidio
Nicole Diegidio

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