Avoid jeopardizing your rights after a car accident

Sooner or later, most Americans will be involved in a car accident of some kind. Whether a serious multicar crash or a low-speed fender-bender, a collision can have a widespread impact on your life. Your health and well-being are of utmost importance, of course. Yet your finances may also be on the line. Injuries are costly, and you could end up missing work.

From the first moments after a crash, it's important to avoid jeopardizing your rights. Protect yourself by following these seven tips.

#1: Don't say anything

Never make statements that might be considered admissions of fault. Likewise, don't agree to give any formal statements to insurance companies without first speaking with a lawyer. Insurers and other potential opponents may use those statements against you if you try to seek compensation.

#2: Get a medical evaluation

Even after a minor crash, it's critical to get yourself checked out. You may very well have suffered serious injuries that aren't immediately obvious. A medical evaluation will provide the documentation you need to pursue a claim later.

#3: Gather evidence

The sooner you collect evidence, the better. Try to take photos of the crash scene if you're able. Talk to witnesses and collect their contact information. Write down what happened for your own records, before your memory fades. Finally, involve an attorney as soon as possible to help pursue a full investigation.

#4: Notify the insurance company

Your insurer needs to know about the accident. However, dealing with insurance matters can be stressful and overwhelming. That's another advantage of working with an attorney: You can leave the insurance issues to them.

#5: Keep good records

You never know which documents may become pivotal to your case down the road. Keep track of everything - from medical bills and repairs to mileage, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses.

#6: Explore your options for compensation

Never assume you don't have a claim. Instead, speak to a lawyer about your options. There may be multiple avenues for pursuing compensation, and you may be entitled to much more than you realized.

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