After a car accident, your mind will be spinning. Adrenaline will course through your veins and it will be hard to concentrate. If you have any injuries, they might also prevent you from thinking clearly.
As best as you can, you must calm down and focus on the task at hand. Assuming you’re not seriously injured, there are certain things you should do after a car wreck to ensure the best possible outcome of your current situation.
We want to help. Keep reading for a quick guide on what to do following an auto accident.
1. Ensure Everyone’s Safety
First and foremost, you need to mitigate the risk of further accidents and injuries. If possible, try to get the vehicles moved off the road. This is especially important if you’re on a busy highway, in the middle of an intersection, or on a high-speed road.
If the vehicles cannot be moved, it’s essential to get the accident victims to safety. However, you must be careful here. Trying to move someone with a spinal injury could have disastrous consequences.
Additionally, if you have any injuries, don’t push yourself too hard trying to run around taking care of everything. Accept your limitations and take care of your own health first.
2. Contact the Authorities
Next, call 911 to report the accident. Make sure you take note of everyone’s injuries so the operator knows what types of emergency vehicles to send. They’ll also want to know about the severity of the accident, how many people were involved, and more.
Once the police arrive, they can make their reports. These reports might be necessary for filing your insurance claim or, in some cases, filing a lawsuit.
Cooperate with the police completely and answer any questions they have. However, avoid admitting guilt for the car wreck in any way. This includes statements such as:
- I’m sorry
- I didn’t see the other driver
- I was distracted
- I don’t know what happened
Admitting fault could void your insurance coverage or undermine any potential lawsuits you might decide to file.
3. Exchange Information with the Other Driver
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, take this time to exchange information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. However, if the other driver is acting erratically, is angry, or otherwise causing an issue, it might be best to wait for the police to arrive before engaging with him or her.
There are several important things you need to document pertaining to the other driver. This includes:
- Phone number
- Insurance company provider and policy number
- License plate number
- Make, model, and color of their vehicle.
When communicating with the other driver, you must hold yourself to a certain standard. Don’t react emotionally or engage in discussions about the fault or causes of the accident.
4. Gather Evidence
After a car accident, gathering evidence is essential for filing your insurance claim or presenting a solid case for a car accident attorney. Things you should document include:
- Pictures of the interior and exterior damage of all vehicles involved
- Pictures of the accident scene (property damage, skid marks, etc.)
- Police officer names
- Police report number and notes
- Witness statements
- Your notes on the accident
Be sure to write down your recollection of the car wreck as soon as possible while the incident is still fresh in your mind. Additionally, when collecting witness statements, make sure you get their basic contact information in case their statements are needed in the future.
5. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
In most cases, the sooner you report an accident to your insurance company, the better. However, you might not want to file the claim officially until you’ve been checked out by a doctor and/or speak to a lawyer.
If you have any long-lasting injuries or other expenses (such as lost wages from an inability to work), you need to think about your future. However, understand that there is a statute of limitations for how long you have to file a claim.
Report the accident to your insurance company but don’t file the claim or accept any settlements from them until you’re sure of what you need.
6. Get Checked Out By Your Doctor
As noted above, it’s vital to get checked out by a doctor after a car wreck. Don’t shrug off minor injuries or skip the doctor if you believe yourself to be unharmed.
There are countless delayed injuries and physical pains that arise after the adrenaline has worn off. In some cases, chronic pain issues present themselves weeks after an accident.
Your best bet is to visit your primary care doctor or a car injury doctor to get a full examination. If you do have serious injuries, their official documentation and testimonies might be necessary for getting financial compensation.
7. Contact an Attorney
Finally, consider reaching out to a car accident attorney. If you suffered significant injures, we recommend contacting an attorney even before you know if your insurance company will fully cover you or not.
In some cases, insurance companies play hardball and try to settle low on your claim. Like any business, their top priority is making money. The more money they hand out for your case, the more it hurts their capital.
Sadly, a low-settling insurance company can prevent the victim from getting the medical help they need. Work with an attorney who can help you file a lawsuit against your insurance provider if they decide they want to hold out on you.
These types of cases rarely go to trial. Typically, the insurance company settles and the victim is taken care of.
Finally, most car accident lawyers charge a contingency fee. This means you only have to pay for their services if your case is successful, they simply take a percentage of your winnings. Click here for additional reading on car accident attorneys.
Were You Recently Involved in a Car Wreck?
If you’ve been in a car wreck, do your best to stay level-headed and follow the advice listed above to ensure the best possible outcome. Maximize safety, gather evidence, and take care of your needs above all else.