Being involved in a car accident can be a harrowing experience. Not only is it a cause of great pain, physical and emotional, but it’s also uncharted territory for many. If you’ve been involved in an accident or if you’re worried you might be, here’s what you need to do after.

Seek Medical Attention

In the dream-like state of emotional, mental, and physical distress that follows an accident, there is a chance you won’t feel your injuries, especially with the adrenaline in your bloodstream keeping the pain away. That is why it’s highly recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible in order to rule out any possibilities of internal bleeding, concussion, and any other injuries that take time to manifest. While the first and foremost reason for seeking medical attention is guaranteeing your well-being, there’s another reason that shouldn’t be overlooked. Insurance companies make their money off of paying as little as possible, and sometimes not at all. By seeking immediate medical attention, whether you are hurt or not, you’ll be proving that you were involved in a car accident and that you were physically affected. If you decide to wait for a few days before you see a doctor, you could be giving the insurance company grounds for arguing that your injury didn't happen due to the accident. In which case, instead of negotiating a higher settlement, your lawyer would have to put in the extra effort just to prove you have a valid case.

Gather Documentation

If you do want to receive compensation or a settlement, you need to gather plenty of evidence, and the more undeniable, the better. As we’ve mentioned, insurance companies will attempt to prove your case invalid or unworthy of a great sum, whether during initial negotiations or in court. Having the necessary evidence will make the job of proving your case easier for your attorney and will increase your chances at a higher settlement. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t see the insurance company without your attorney and, if possible, ask them what type of evidence you need to collect. Stephen from the Brooks Law Group says that even releasing your medical records to the insurance company could hurt your case. There’s a chance that the insurance company might use what you have against you, and so, an experienced attorney will make sure your evidence, pieced together, can reflect the undeniable reality of the situation. That said, you will need evidence to prove two things. Medical bills, prescriptions, x-rays, and pictures will prove your injuries. Vehicle repair bills and pictures of the damaged vehicle, the at-fault driver’s vehicle, and the accident site will prove a severe crash took place.

File a Police Report

When an accident occurs, it’s important that you get a hold of the on-site police and give them your account of the events. Be sure that the other driver will do the same, and unless you provide your own account, you won’t have a strong footing in court, or in the negotiation room. After all, if you did suffer an accident, why didn’t you inform the police? Just by giving room for the opposition to ask you this question, you’d be putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. Remember that a police report is one of the most influential documents as it removes all doubts about what happened and whose fault it was, especially if the at-fault driver decides to omit some details. So, regardless of the severity of the accident, make sure you get a police report filed.

See a Lawyer

It’s a common mistake to think you have enough proof or negotiation skills to see an insurance company. Given that small settlements is how an insurance provider makes a living, you’re guaranteed to be low-balled at first. With a lawyer by your side, you’ll understand how much you stand to make from a case like yours, whether or not it’s worth pursuing, and what you need in order to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t forget that while dealing with the consequences of your accident, bearing the burden of filing paperwork and negotiating settlements can be too much.

Knowing what to do in an accident can be the reason you either end up with enough money to cover the costs of the damages or a symbolic amount that covers half your bills. Keep in mind that accidents have a massive financial impact in the form of medical bills, recovery expenses, unpaid leave, and vehicle damages. Compensation isn’t just about money, but about fairness. You shouldn’t be the one paying for the consequences of another person’s reckless behavior.