5 Steps to Take After an Accident
You can’t always predict when a negligent driver is going to hit you. But you can always be ready for what to do after you get into a car accident. No matter what sort of car accident you are in or who caused it, there are five steps you should always follow to help navigate the situation and to benefit your future injury claim.
Call Emergency Responders
After any car accident in which someone is seriously injured or debris is scattered into the roadway, you should call emergency responders for help. Firefighters can extract people from damaged vehicles, paramedics can perform lifesaving first aid, and police officers can redirect oncoming traffic away from the damaged vehicles. Emergency responders will also write reports about what they saw and did. Your future claim could benefit from those reports.
Write Down Identifying Information
You will need to collect identifying and insurance information from all other parties involved. Write down the information where you know you can find it later. Although you might not need the insurance info of passengers involved in your crash, you should still get their contact information.
Take Pictures & Video
Some of the most convincing evidence to support your car accident claim will be photographs and video footage taken at the scene of the crash. Use your smartphone to take pictures of vehicular damage, injuries, traffic and roadway conditions, and the weather. The easier it is to recreate the scene using your photos and video later, the better.
You might want to say something like, “I’m sorry. Are you okay?” No matter what your good manners tell you, do your best to avoid giving an apology after your crash. Insurance companies like to keep an ear open for apologies and misconstrue them into an admission of guilt as an unfair way to pin liability on someone.
See a Doctor
On the same day as your accident, you should see a doctor for a medical checkup. Even if you feel fine, arrange to see a trusted medical professional within the next few hours of your accident. You could have underlying injuries that you don’t notice right away but that a doctor can diagnose. Starting your treatment as soon as possible can help mitigate the severity of your injuries. It will also benefit your claim by making it more difficult for an insurance company to blame the severity of your injuries on you, which they often do when a claimant does not see a doctor or ignores the doctor’s orders.
As a last added step, you should speak with a local car accident attorney at your first opportunity. If your claim is complicated or contested by the insurance company representing the other driver, then a lawyer can help you strengthen and progress your claim in pursuit of fair compensation for your damages.