A car accident can be traumatic, possibly throwing you so off balance you’re not sure what to do next in the aftermath. In fact, many people are not sure about what steps they should take after being in a car accident. Knowing what to do means it will be a lot easier for you to take action in the aftermath of a car accident.
You should never leave the scene of an accident even if the car accident is minor. Pull over and get off the road so that you can avoid causing another accident while you deal with this one. Turn on your hazard lights, set out cones or flares if you have them, all to let other motorists know that there was an accident. This allows you to do what you need to, and them to know they need to proceed with caution.
Determine If Everyone Is Alright
The most important thing that you can do after an accident is to make sure that everyone is okay. If someone is hurt, then you should avoid moving them unless the vehicle is on fire. Call 911 if anyone is seriously hurt, otherwise consider if you need to take them to the hospital yourself. Some common injuries after a car accident include things like whiplash, back injuries, and broken bones. Whiplash occurs when the neck is thrown violently and suddenly backward and then forwards. Afterward, your neck muscles are going to be in a lot of pain, so much so you might lose some range of motion while you recover, which can take up to three months.
Talk to the Other Party
It is important to get the contact information of anyone else who was involved in the accident. In addition to their name and phone number, you should also get their insurance information. You should also interview witnesses. Write down a detailed account of what they said happened. All of this information will be important later, both for talking to the police but also for when you talk to your insurance. Having the clearest picture possible can help them determine who is at fault, whose insurance needs to pay for the damages, and can generally take over talking to and dealing with the other party of the accident so you don’t have to.
Call the Police
Even if the accident is considered minor, perhaps just some dents or a minor fender bender, you still need to call the police. In fact, some states legally require you to report car accidents. The responding officer will then either come out to make a report of what happened or direct you to the nearest police station to do it yourself. Make sure to get a copy of the police report for your insurance claim.
Contact An Attorney
Insurance companies are supposed to compensate you for an accident. However, it’s still a good idea to contact an attorney. Personal injury attorneys, like the ones you can find through firms such as Wood Law Group, PLLC, can help you with moving forward with your claim. They can also help by communicating with the insurance company on your behalf.
They will also make sure that the compensation amount is fair. Many people do not realize that they have been low-balled by the insurance companies when they file a claim and then get their money. The attorney will take into account the cost of your medical bills, car damages, and lost time at work in order to ensure that you have a fair compensation amount.
The aftermath of a car accident can seem like a confusing and unsure time. You might be unsure how to proceed or feel like you’ve forgotten what to do. What’s important is that you stay calm and do what you can to get the information you need for when the police arrive. Make sure you hang onto that information for both your insurance and your attorney. It’s important to take care to protect yourself after an accident. It is the most important thing you can do, and following these steps is a sure-fire way to do that.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.