Car accidents are stressful for everyone involved, but when children are present the stakes are even higher. Amid the confusion and trauma of a serious car accident, even adults sometimes have difficulty sensing and articulating their own needs. This is true to a much greater degree when the incident involves children, who may not be old enough to communicate well, if at all. However difficult it is to follow, the best advice when dealing with children in a car accident is to stay calm. Children sense your stress and they are inclined to follow your lead. The following are additional tips when dealing with children involved in car accidents.
Check for Injuries
Even if everyone was properly restrained and the impact seems minimal, it is still a good idea to check yourself and your child for injury. Some accident-caused injuries, such as whiplash or a concussion, may not be immediately evident. For this reason, you should have a medical professional assess the situation, especially if the child is too young to convey that something is wrong.
Call 911 to summon help to the scene of the accident. The emergency responders may assess the damage, address injuries, and create official documentation of the incident.
All drivers should exchange their contact information and info regarding car insurance policies. Police officers called to the scene will often facilitate this exchange, as well as provide instructions on how to obtain a copy of the forthcoming police report on the incident. If there are witnesses nearby, it can be helpful to obtain their information as well. If they are willing to provide a written statement about what they saw, that may help too.
Police officers will include a summary of the accident and the resulting damage in their report, but it is still a good idea to document the incident yourself. Make notes of the damage to both vehicles and any surrounding property and take notice of any injuries to the occupants from either vehicle. Make a record of the weather conditions, traffic signage, or traffic signals that may have been a factor. Take pictures to support your version of events. Photos of the damage and the physical circumstances present may be helpful if it becomes necessary to fight for your insurance claim.
Report the Accident
No matter who was at fault, both parties should contact their own insurance companies to report the accident. Your insurance should be on your side in filing the claim to cover damages, but they often do so while protecting their own business interests by limiting their own financial liability. In those cases, it may become necessary to seek out a car accident lawyer to advocate for your rights.
Protect Your Claim
If the accident caused an injury, you or your child may have ongoing medical issues to address. Insurance companies are inclined to make a quick payout to settle a costly claim. Do not discuss the accident with an insurance adjuster or accept any payment without seeking the advice of a car accident lawyer that can help you receive the settlement you deserve.
St. Clair County Car Accident Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Advocate for Victims Injured in All Types of Car Accidents
If you are concerned that the insurance companies or other parties involved are not treating you fairly, you should talk to the St. Clair County car accident lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC. Call us at 618-277-3644 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we represent clients throughout the state, including the areas of Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.