A Sideswiped Accident: How to Deal With The Aftermath

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Sideswipe accidents are fairly common across the United States. Depending on the speeds of the vehicles involved and the force of the crash, they can cause serious injuries and extensive damage. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident like this requires several steps and considerations. If you know what to do after a sideswipe accident before it happens, though, you’ll be better prepared to take action when you need to.

Prioritize Safety and Evaluate Injuries

At some point after an accident, you may need to visit atlantaadvocate.com for legal counsel. Still, in the first few moments, the safety and well-being of everyone involved should be a top priority. First, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic if possible. Then, check yourself and any passengers for injuries if you’re able to. Check on the occupants of any other vehicles involved in the accident if you can. If anyone is injured, call for help right away.

It’s always best to get emergency personnel en route whether anyone is injured or not. After all, adrenaline tends to run high following accidents, and it may mask the effects of even serious injuries for a few hours. Additionally, having law enforcement officials and firefighters on scene helps to ensure safety. You’ll also need to speak with officers and create a police report.

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Exchange Information

Exchanging contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident is also important. You’ll need exchange names, phone numbers, emails, and insurance information as well as details about your vehicles. Be sure to gather contact information from any witnesses to the accident, too. Though law enforcement may ask witnesses for statements, they may need to be contacted later on for further details. Get their contact information while they’re there because you may not have another chance after the fact.

Document the Scene

To make the claims process go more smoothly and back up your case if it goes to court, you’ll need to gather as much evidence as possible at the scene of the accident. Take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle and others that were involved. Take pictures of skid marks, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals as well. Be sure to capture those elements from multiple angles.

If you see any factors that could prove the other driver veered into your lane to cause the accident, capture those as well. These days, having a dash cam in your vehicle at all times is advised. It’ll record anything that happens on the road and give you a video of the accident to strengthen your case.

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Contact Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Give them accurate, in-depth details about what happened. Be honest and thorough when recounting the incident. Your insurance company will tell you how to proceed with the claims process.

Be careful when answering the insurance company’s questions, though. They’re known for trying to confuse policyholders and trick them into contradicting themselves. That detracts from people’s claims while strengthening the insurance companies’ cases. If they succeed, it could affect your settlement and your entire case if you need to pursue it in court.

Preserve Evidence from the Accident

Preserve any evidence related to the accident, such as damaged personal items, clothing, or debris from your vehicle. This evidence might be useful when you file a claim or if you need to pursue legal action. These types of evidence can reinforce any photos, videos, and witness statements that come into play.

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Legal Considerations

If the insurance company disputes your claim, you may need legal assistance. Consult with a personal injury attorney to help you with the case if necessary. An attorney can act on your behalf and help you understand your rights. Attorneys are better equipped to handle insurance companies, and they’re not as easily intimidated.

In truth, it’s usually best to contact an attorney before the need actually arises, so you’ll be prepared in advance. Having a lawyer in your corner can be helpful whether you or the other driver was at fault in the accident. It’s particularly difficult to prove who was at fault in a sideswipe accident, but an attorney can serve as an experienced advocate in this regard.

Dealing with Insurance Companies

Contacting insurance companies to file a claim isn’t the only time you’ll have to deal with them. Chances are you’ll have multiple interactions with your coverage provider as well as that of the other driver. It’s important to cooperate with insurance adjusters and provide any documents or information they ask for. Though honesty is always the best policy, don’t admit fault either intentionally or inadvertently.

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Repairing Your Vehicle

If your vehicle sustained damage and it wasn’t deemed a total loss, it’ll need to be repaired. Get repair estimates from multiple shops in writing, so you can forward them to the insurance company. When choosing an auto repair shop, be sure the ones you’re considering are willing to accept insurance claims.

Don’t Overlook Your Emotional Well-Being

Besides all those measures, remember that the aftermath of a sideswipe accident can be emotionally trying. You’re likely dealing with injuries and losses as well as the hassles of asking for a settlement. Financial difficulties may come into play as well. All that can take a toll on anyone’s mental health. If you’re feeling stressed, reach out to friends, family members, or a counselor for help. Don’t try to deal with it on your own. Maintaining your emotional well-being is a key step in recovering from an accident.

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Successfully Handling a Sideswipe Accident

Dealing with the repercussions of a sideswipe accident can be a complicated process. From seeing to everyone’s safety in the moments after the accident to dealing with insurance companies, several measures are involved. All the while, your physical and mental health may be suffering. Turning to an attorney for help can make a major difference in the outcome of your case and take a great deal of the burden off of your shoulders.