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New Mexico Lawyers Serving New Mexico's Legal Needs Since 1997

Steps to take after a car accident

If you are involved in an accident, and the at fault driver has auto insurance, you may have some protection. If the at fault driver is not insured, you still may have some right to compensation from your own auto insurance company. However, the process of filing a claim can be complicated, especially when issues are involved like having multiple drivers, your vehicle is totaled, or you have suffered serious injuries.

An accident can happen in an instant but can cause long-term injuries to you and serious damage to your vehicle. Do you know what to do after a car crash? The basic steps to take after an accident may seem simple now, but your perspective often changes after being in an accident.

Below is a list of the basic steps to take after an accident:

  • Stay Calm. Turn on hazard lights.
  • If uninjured, remove yourself and passengers from the vehicle.
  • Call the police to report the crash and get any necessary medical attention.
  • Exchange information with all drivers involved, including names and insurance coverage. If the person driving is not listed on the auto registration, make a note of the driver's relationship to the vehicle's owner.
  • Document any injuries and damages to the vehicles involved, including taking pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the scene of the crash.
  • Get witness' names and phone numbers.
  • Do not admit fault to anyone.
  • Do not leave the scene of the accident before police arrive.

You will need to contact your insurance company immediately to report the accident. Often times, the other driver's insurance company may try to settle with you immediately after the accident, sometimes even on the same day! The vast majority of the times, the other driver's insurance company is only offering you a very small percentage of what your claim is actually worth. Before you sign anything with an insurance company, understand that certain injuries may not show any symptoms until weeks after the crash. This makes it difficult to know what medical expenses or lost wages may follow.

Consulting an attorney right away can help you understand what options are available to help you pay for any medical expenses and other costs associated with your accident. While you may just want to move on from your crash as quickly as possible, taking the time to fully understand what steps to take and what can be done after an accident will protect your best interests in the long run.

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