What to Do After a Car AccidentLast updated on: November 30, 2022
Secure Children, Pets, Seniors and the Disabled
Be careful not to cause any additional injuries to the other people in your vehicle. Do not leave children, pets, seniors, or disabled adults in a locked hot car after an accident. Alternatively, do not take any of these members out of the car if it is not safe for you to do so.
If there are children in car seats, do not remove them from the seats after a crash. You could potentially disturb and worsen injuries that you are not aware of. Allow the medical professionals to attend to the children’s injuries.
Check for Injuries and Move to a Safe Area
Car accidents can inflict many different types of injuries onto drivers and passengers alike. These injuries can vary in intensity, permanency, and frequency; some are invisible to the naked eye. Left untreated, some injuries can develop into life-threatening conditions or permanent disabilities.
Prompt treatment for any kind of injury is crucial, as many injuries can greatly affect the way your body moves and functions. If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. A medical professional may be able to help you mitigate the overall effects of your injuries.
Even if you do not have any apparent injuries, you should still visit a healthcare professional to avoid developing subsequent injuries later. A healthcare professional will be able to inspect your body and assure you that you have no serious injuries.
In addition to the obvious health benefits, visiting a healthcare professional may also have some legal use as well. A doctor will create an official medical report of your injuries. If you later wish to pursue your legal options, you may be able to use these medical documents as proof to the court of your injuries.
It is important to your claim that you demonstrate that you have made a good faith effort to recover and address your injuries as quickly as possible. If you were injured in a car accident and need help gathering evidence that will strengthen your case for seeking compensation for your injuries, contact a personal injury lawyer; they will be able to give you reasonable advice for what to do after a wreck. Once hired, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer will be able to help you assess your injuries accurately and file a claim accordingly.
Call the Police
One of the first steps in any car crash is to inform the authorities of the crash. This ensures that officers and first responders will respond to the crash and that you receive treatment for any injuries. You should provide as much detail to the police as possible about the other driver, including the vehicle they were driving and any witnesses to the crash
Talking to the Other Driver
If the other driver appeared to have road rage when the accident occurred, be careful while talking to the other driver. Try not to be angry or apologetic toward the driver. If the driver asks about whether anyone in your vehicle was hurt, remember that you do not truly know the injuries you sustained until you have met with your doctor.
After you have confirmed that everyone is safe, exchange contact information with the other party, being sure to get the other driver’s name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information. If there are any eyewitnesses, try to get similar information from them, for witnesses can play a key role in proving your claim if your case proceeds to litigation.
Notify Your Auto Insurance Company
Notify your insurance company and give a basic account of the accident. Avoid making any official statements regarding fault for the accident. Your insurance adjuster may seem helpful and friendly, but it is his or her job to make the insurance company profit by reducing the amount the insured receives.
Provide the insurance company with the necessary documents and refamiliarize yourself with the policy. Speak with a car accident attorney if you have concerns about your insurance policy.
Decide Whether to File a Claim
If the damage to your vehicle and your body is serious, you may consider filing a claim against the other driver. However, you should not begin litigation without a strong idea of the value of your claim.
A lawyer can help you calculate the value of your claim. A lawyer can also save you precious time, money, and energy by letting you know if your claim is not worth pursuing.
Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles
You may need to let the DMV know about the accident. State laws vary about which crashes must be reported. Usually, there is a minimum amount of vehicle damage or bodily injury that requires the accident to be reported.
Gather Potential Evidence
Physical evidence is extremely important in accident and injury cases, and many courts appreciate plaintiffs who can present physical proof and evidence to support their claim. When you call the police after a car accident, the responding police officer will likely draft a written accident report, which is important because it documents when, where, and how the accident happened. After the officer creates the report, ask how you can obtain a copy later, when it becomes available.
After an accident, do your best to document the scene as soon as possible and as thoroughly as possible on your own, and avoid leaving out any essential details. The best way to document the scene of an accident is to take photos or videos with your mobile device. Taking notes and describing the accident in written form can also help you recall the specifics of the accident later on in the litigation process.
Also, keep a detailed list of any expenses related to the accident; expenses can include medical bills, repair orders, or lost wages. If you were injured in a car accident and are uncertain about what to keep and what to throw away, speak with an attorney who can help you decide exactly what to do after a car wreck.
Watch What You Say
Liability allocation is an important step in car accident claims. In many states, the driver responsible for the accident is liable for all resulting injuries, costs, and damages. If you were involved in a car accident, it is important that you avoid accepting fault for the collision without first consulting with a legal professional.
At the initial collision scene, you may not be aware of what was going on inside the other vehicle, what traffic laws the other driver might have broken, or what other circumstances might have transpired in the seconds or minutes leading up to the crash. A subsequent investigation may later reveal that the other driver failed to yield to you, was texting at the time of the incident, or ran a stop sign. Unfortunately, if you already accepted fault for the accident, you may have a difficult time pursuing damages.
Avoid getting into lengthy conversations about what happened after an accident, for these conversations can lead to unprovoked confessions or admissions that do not necessarily reflect the facts of the accident. You must also avoid giving statements to insurance investigators or the family members of the other motorist, especially before you have a chance to retain counsel. While you are obligated to cooperate with the police and give any necessary information, you are not usually required to go into detailed conversations about who was legally responsible.
Avoiding these conversations can help you preserve the sanctity of your claim. If you were injured and want to discuss your prospects for getting recovery, or if you need help deciding what to do after a car accident, contact a for help. An attorney who is working for you can evaluate your claim and help you seek the maximum compensation available to you.
Don’t Make Deals About Damages Payments
Do not accept a payment from the other driver before filing an insurance claim or fully assessing the damage you suffered. You might accept an amount much too small to cover your expenses from the crash, and you could bar yourself from further recovery.
Contact Your Car Accident Lawyer
Dealing with the legal consequences of a car accident can be exhausting. Insurance companies can be difficult to handle, especially if they do not want to compensate you completely for your damages. A collision attorney knows how to speak and negotiate with the insurance companies, potentially making the process go much more smoothly for all involved.
Victims can recover from an accident more quickly when they win compensation. If you are interested in potentially getting the highest compensation possible for your damages, an attorney may be able to help you. Once hired, a professional accident attorney will be able to help you determine fault, navigate the filing process, assess your damages, and negotiate with the involved insurance companies, taking your claim to court if a fair settlement with them cannot be reached.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens to your body after a car accident?
After an accident, you may experience a rush of adrenaline. The adrenaline, while it can give you the strength to complete the tasks listed above, can prevent you from feeling the extent of your injuries until later. Visit a doctor soon after the accident to ensure that you have not experienced a head or spinal injury.
What is the first thing you do after a crash?
There are many things that you can do after an accident to help lessen the burden of the collision. Regardless of the type of accident, involved drivers should always first check to see if anyone is hurt, even in minor fender benders; always check yourself and your passengers first. After you have ensured that the people within your vehicle are safe, you can then move to check on the people in the other involved cars; if anyone is hurt, immediately call for medical assistance.