Car accidents are difficult to deal with, no matter how major or minor. If you find yourself involved in one, you will likely feel shook up in its aftermath. In your state, you may react in a manner that could put you at risk of losing out on compensation. To avoid this outcome, there are certain steps you must take to protect yourself.
Check for injuries
Immediately after a car accident, the first step you must take is to check for injuries. If you, the other motorist or any passengers in your vehicles sustained any, you will want to call 911 right away. Even if no one sustained injuries in the accident, you will still want to place a call as a precaution.
After moving your vehicle out of the road, you will want to exchange information with the other motorist involved in your accident. This is crucial because, while Massachusetts technically has a no-fault insurance system, there are exceptions. Any property damage claim you make will go through the other motorist’s insurance company if their fault exceeded 50%. And any personal injury claim that you file will also go through their insurance company if your injuries led to one of the following:
- At least $2,000 in reasonable medical expenses
- Serious bone fractures
- Vision or hearing loss
When exchanging information, you must make sure you take down:
- The other motorist’s full name and contact information
- The other motorist’s insurance information
- The other motorist’s license plate and driver’s license numbers
- The make and model of the other motorist’s vehicle
Keep in mind that, when talking to the other motorist, you will want your conversation to remain fact-based. You may feel the reflex to apologize for the accident, even if you did not cause it. Offering an apology, though, is tantamount to admitting fault, and could have consequences on your ability to collect compensation for your injuries and your vehicle’s damage.
Document the damage and your injuries
Under Massachusetts law, you must file an accident report – in most cases – within five days of your collision. Yet, you will also want to take photos from multiple angles at the accident scene. By doing so, you can provide an accurate depiction of the collision, which can corroborate or add to the details in your accident report.
You will also want to save any documents related to medical treatments and bills after your accident. These records are crucial for making a detailed and accurate personal injury claim. The more evidence you provide of your injuries’ impact, the greater your likelihood of receiving appropriate compensation for them.
Contact an attorney
Making an insurance claim and dealing with insurance companies can be difficult. This is especially true if the insurer lowballs your initial settlement offer. To collect the compensation you need, you will want to contact an attorney. With their help and acumen, you may have an easier time fighting for the settlement you deserve.