Are you wondering what steps you need to take after getting into a car accident? Getting into a motor vehicle accident is not something you think will happen to you, until it does. You may experience being in shock and might not be thinking clearly in the moment.
It is important to be as informed and prepared as possible so that you can take steps to protect yourself, should you ever find yourself in this situation.
Below is a list of steps to take if you are ever in a motor vehicle accident.
Never drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one.
Check for Injuries
First and foremost, assess if there are any injuries.
If anyone is seriously injured, whether it is yourself, a passenger in your vehicle, or someone in the other car, call for an ambulance immediately.
Call the Police
It is a good idea to call the police after an accident, especially if you were not at fault.
The person who caused the accident may accept the blame in the moment, but might change their story later. A police report detailing what happened in the accident will help show the insurance companies that you were not at fault.
Even if no one was injured and you only need to make a claim in regards to your property damage, a police report will help.
Unless they interfere with traffic, the vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are until after the police come and assess the situation.
When the police arrive, make sure you tell the officer exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you are unsure about any of the facts, tell that to the police officer rather than guess or give misinformation.
If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Remember, you may not feel your injuries immediately.
If there is any visible damage to either of the cars, take pictures of both vehicles.
If you have visible injuries, take pictures of them as well.
If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
Obtain the name, address, and phone number of everyone involved in the accident. This includes drivers as well as any passengers.
Try to photograph the driver’s license and insurance card of the other drivers involved in the accident. Typically, the investigating police officer will obtain this information, however, if they do not respond to the accident, make sure to collect this information yourself.
If you see any witnesses, whether it be a pedestrian nearby or another driver that pulled over to help, ask for their contact information. Your attorney may need to contact them at some point to help validate your story.
Seek Medical Treatment
If there are no serious injuries, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Due to adrenaline, it is common to not feel injuries immediately after an accident. You may not start to feel pain until a day or two later. Even accidents that involve a minor impact can cause a serious injury to the spinal cord.
Unless you are 100% positive you sustained no injuries, you should visit your local emergency room, urgent care center, or your primary care physician within the first couple days of the accident.
Report the Accident to Insurance
Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation.
Keep a file of all accident-related information: claim number, names and phone numbers of all contacts involved in the accident, rental car receipts, police report, and medical treatment receipts.
Consult Your Attorney
Your personal injury attorney will protect your rights throughout the claim. They can guide you on what to say to your insurance adjuster and will make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed.
At Park Chenaur and Associates, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no legal fees unless we recover compensation for your injuries. We don’t get paid until you get paid.