What To Do After An Auto Accident
A car accident can be a traumatic and upsetting event, but a lot of the emotional and financial impact can be lessened by following certain steps to make sure you are safe and protected, at the scene and after. Safety is always the number one priority followed by gathering information and notifying the proper authorities and agencies to help you get you and your vehicle back on the road. This step-by-step guide will walk you through what to do immediately after a car accident and the days that follow.
1. Check Yourself For Injuries First And Then Your Passengers
If you have passengers, your first instinct may be to help them, but you need first to assess your well-being. Move slowly and cautiously because the adrenaline coursing through your body may temporarily mask pain. If you move too quickly or rush to your passengers before you realize you are hurt, you may further injure yourself or even lose consciousness. If you are not too hurt to move, you can then check on your passengers and those of the other vehicles involved, if it is safe to leave your vehicle. If anyone is injured, immediately call 911 or ask a bystander to do so.
2. Move To Safety
Turn on your hazard lights. If your car is safe to drive and is in a hazardous location like the middle of a freeway, pull it to the side of the road away from traffic as much as possible. If available, use road flares from your emergency car kit to ensure the scene is clearly visible to oncoming traffic. If your vehicle is disabled and in an unsafe spot, leave it where it is and get yourself and your passengers to safety.
3. Call The Police
Calling the police is not legally required in all states, but it is always recommended since the police can provide or call for emergency care, secure the accident scene, investigate the cause, and provide you with an accident report. Sometimes there is a small fee involved with obtaining the accident report, but it is well worth the expense because it is a critical document that is heavily relied upon by your insurance company and, if necessary, your personal injury attorney.
4. Stay Calm
Those involved in an accident are often quick to assign blame. The best practice, however, is to always tell the truth. Stay calm and focus on everyone’s well-being and the gathering of the necessary information.
5. Exchange Information
After making sure everyone is uninjured and in a safe place, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If more than one other vehicle was involved, be sure to get everyone’s information, not just the driver of the vehicle you directly collided with. Make sure to get the following information from the other driver(s) as well as provide it to them:
• Full name and contact information, preferably phone number and email address
• Insurance company and policy number
• Driver’s license and license plate number
• Make, model, and color of vehicle
• Location of accident
6. Document The Accident
Use the following checklist to document the accident properly:
• Identify people involved: write down the names and contact information for everyone involved in the accident, including all passengers.
• Talk to witnesses: write down or, with their permission, record witness statements of what they saw happen. Also write down their name and contact information.
• Identify the officers: write down the name and badge number of all responding officers.
• Ask about the accident report: ask the police officers how and where to obtain a copy of the accident report.
• Take pictures: take multiple pictures at different angles, including close-ups of the damage done to all vehicles.
• Create a file: be sure to keep all of this information in one place as you will need to refer to it often.
7. File An Insurance Claim
Many insurance companies have a time limit on when you can file a claim for a car accident. Be sure to call your insurance as soon as possible to begin the claim process. Ideally, try to call them while you are still at the scene so they can tell you exactly what they need to complete your claim.
8. Seek Medical Attention
It is not uncommon for pain and injuries to go unnoticed for a day or two after a car crash. It is a good idea to go to the emergency room or see your physician after an accident, especially if at any point you felt dazed or lost consciousness for even a short amount of time. When it comes to your health, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
9. Consult An Attorney
An experienced car accident lawyer can advise you on everything from insurance claims to medical care, helping you to receive the most compensation and best care possible. Many people are concerned the costs of a lawyer may outweigh the benefits, but personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means they do not charge a legal fee unless you are successfully compensated for your injuries.
Learn More –
If you have been in an accident and live in Asheville, North Carolina or the surrounding communities, Fisher Stark, P.A. can help. We offer free consultations to discuss your case or that of a loved one. Experienced attorneys in both auto accident law and personal injury law, we can answer your questions and help you make an informed decision on whether or not to take legal action. You have nothing to lose but possibly a lot to gain. Make your free appointment today through our Contact Us page or by calling 828-505-4300.