Know Your Rights: What to do Following a Car Accident

Car accidents are without a doubt one of the most stressful situations you’ll find yourself in as an adult. Most studies suggest that the average person will get into 3-4 car accidents over the course of their lifetime.

Since it’s statistically likely that you’ll get into a car accident, it’s important that you know your rights. There are numerous things you can do to ensure that you protect yourself and get through accidents without giving yourself a major headache. 

Let’s dive in and look at what you can do to make the best of a bad situation. 

Safety First

You may have heard the phrase “safety first.” This phrase applies more than ever to car wrecks. After an accident, you should check yourself and the passengers in your vehicle to make sure you’re not injured. 

If you hit your head you may have a concussion. If this is the case you will need to go to the hospital to make sure you’re okay. Letting a concussion go without treatment can be dangerous, and potentially fatal. 

After checking on yourself and your passengers, you should check to make sure that the other party involved in the accident is okay. Once you confirm that they are fine, you can move on to the next step. 

Contact Law Enforcement

Regardless of whether you think this is going to end in a legal dispute, it’s crucial that you call the police right away. The cops will be able to do a couple of things for you:

  • They can objectively assess the situation
  • They can act as a mediator between you and the other driver
  • They can write up an official police report

When you are telling the cops what happened, it’s important that you remain objective. Don’t put the blame on yourself, and don’t blame the other driver.  Emotions are going to be running high, but it’s key that you keep a level head. 

After you are done explaining your side of the story, the other party will explain their side and the police will write up their report. Make sure you obtain a copy of this report for your records. You’re going to need a copy for your insurance company and your attorney if you decide to sue for damages. 

Gather Important Information

This step is something you can start when the cops arrive, and finish after they are gone if necessary. There is a lot of important information you need to obtain for your insurance company, and for legal reasons. You should get the following important information:

  1. Gather the name and contact information of passengers
  2. Ask witnesses for their info in case they are needed in the future
  3. Write down the make and model of the vehicles
  4. Take pictures of the damage caused by the accident
  5. Obtain insurance information
  6. Ask for license and insurance policy numbers

It’s important that you get this information because time is of the essence. If you miss out on any of this information, it may be impossible to get it back later. You need to think clearly and keep a checklist in your glove box if you have a bad memory or get easily frazzled. 

Contact Your Insurance Company

Once you’ve talked to the cops and gathered all the important information about the accident, you have to contact your insurance company. You need to take this step as soon as possible. The sooner your insurance company hears about the accident, the sooner they can get started on your claim. 

You have to remember one important piece of information. Insurance companies are not on your side. They have one goal in mind — making money. When someone gets into an accident the insurance company is going to try to pay out as little as possible. 

Do not let the insurance company take advantage of you. You should refuse to sign anything until you talk to an attorney. If they try to contact you, be very careful about what you say. If you’re uncomfortable talking to them without legal representation, let them know that you will contact them after you’ve talked to your lawyer. 

Find a Good Car Accident Attorney

If you feel like the insurance company is trying to best you, get a lawyer. You’re going to want to get a full recovery on all of your loses. A good attorney can help you deal with the insurance company. They use their legal knowledge and the information you’ve gathered to help build you a solid case. 

Car accident lawyers can help you recover the following damages:

  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Compensation for property that was destroyed in the accident
  • Your car rental costs
  • Any “out-of-pocket” expenses

It’s advised that you keep careful tabs on all of your costs after an accident. For example, if you have to take a taxi to and from work for a week after the accident, keep the receipts so that you can get your money back for this out of pocket cost.

Obviously, one of the main points of recovery is the damage that happened to your vehicle during the accident. It doesn’t matter if it’s body damage or damage to the parts inside your vehicle. If the accident was the cause of the damage, you’re covered.

If the insurance company tries to charge you for car rental costs, an attorney can help you recover the fees associated with getting a rental car. Again, keeping receipts and organized records is the key to a full recovery. 


Even if you’re the most careful driver in the world, there’s still a chance that someone could hit your vehicle. Just like that, you’re in a car accident and have a big mess on your hands. 

If you use this information you can help prepare for this horrible situation and make sure that you don’t lose any money on something that wasn’t your fault. 

Car accidents are extremely stressful. You can mitigate this stress by staying prepared and having a good lawyer on standby to help you when the inevitable occurs. Remember, stay safe, and always wear your seat belt!