The first few moments after a car accident can be extremely traumatic and disorienting. Depending on the severity of the crash, you may not be able to respond or act. That’s okay. Medical help after an auto accident is ALWAYS a top priority over everything else. If you’re severely injured, you may find yourself unable to do anything other than wait for help to arrive, and that’s okay. If you’re not incapacitated, however, and you are able to respond immediately after an auto accident, you’ll want to keep these few steps in mind.
First steps after an auto accident
1. Assess the scene: Are the passengers of your vehicle and the other vehicle okay? Are you okay? How about the driver of the other vehicle? The first initial step will almost always be to assess the scene and check on other drivers and passengers.
2. Call Police: A phone call can be the most important thing you do at the scene of an accident. It can save your own life or the life of another person. If there is any type of damage or injury, calling police will immediately alert them to the accident and they will make sure to get medical assistance on the way.
3. Exchange of information: If there’s no real damage and everyone is okay, you will still want to exchange information with the other driver. An injury isn’t always immediate. Many people have thought they were okay after a car accident only to find out that they had a painful injury later on. So it’s never wise to drive away without exchanging information with the other driver! They will need information like your name, phone number, and address. While this is a trying time for both parties, this is an important step. If you don’t get the information of the other driver, you can’t contact them later on when the need arises. Unless it’s a fender bender with no damage and you’re certain you aren’t hurt, always get info!
4. Pictures: Not everyone takes pictures after an accident, but it’s definitely not a bad idea if there was substantial damage, skid marks, or other things that might help you prove you were the victim of negligence. You never know when a picture will come in handy during a later insurance or legal procedure, so snap them if you’re able to.
5. Contact Insurance: Insurance needs to know about your accident. Filing a claim is usually as simple as logging online to your account these days, but you should still call and make contact with insurance to let them know about the accident. They will proceed from there and be able to guide you through the process of recovering damages. NEVER, EVER settle with insurance unless it’s a minor accident with no injury. Otherwise, it’s time to call a lawyer.
6. Medical treatment: If you’ve been injured, you’re going to need to keep tabs on all your doctor’s appointments, assessments, and procedures. All of these things may be used later on to file for damages against the other party’s insurance. While it can be a distressing thing to do, it’s necessary in order to make sure that you can someday recover the damages you deserve from your accident.
Contacting a lawyer
Here’s the end all and perhaps the most important thing you can do if you suffered any injury or property damage because of someone else’s negligence. If the other driver was at fault, you may be able to recover damages from them that you aren’t aware of. You will only be able to do this effectively if you contact a lawyer. Never try to pursue any kind of case on your own. If you’re certain that your injury is going to negatively impact your life, it’s time to pick up the phone and call an attorney who helps car accident victims recover damages.