“What Should You Do After An Auto Accident?”
We understand that being involved in a car accident can be a very traumatic and troubling event, but a lot of the emotional and financial stress you might suffer can be lessened by following certain steps to make sure you are safe and protected … at the scene of the accident and after.
This step-by-step guide will walk you through what to do immediately after a car accident and the days that follow. Safety always comes first followed by notifying the proper authorities and police agencies then gathering the information you informaton to help get you and your vehicle back on the road.
1. Check Yourself For Injuries First and Then Your Passengers
Your personal safety and those of your passengers is always the number one priority.
If you have passengers, your first instinct may be to help them (espeically if they are friends or loved ones), but you need first to assess your own well-being:
Move slowly and cautiously because the adrenaline coursing through your body may temporarily mask any pain or injuries.
If you move too quickly or rush to help 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 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 or witness to do so.
2. Move To Safety
Next if possible turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights. If your car is safe to drive and is in a hazardous/dangerous location like in the middle of a freeway, pull off to the side of the road away from traffic as much as possible.
If available, use road flares from an emergency car kit to ensure that the accident scene is clearly visible to ALL oncoming traffic.
If your vehicle is disabled and in an unsafe spot, just leave it where it is and get yourself and your passengers to safety, as quickly as possible.
3. Call The Police
In most places in North Carolina, you can dial 911 for local help or *HP (star 47) in non-urban areas to summon emergency responders and law enforcement after a car crash.
And while there is no legal requirement to report an accident that does not involve personal injury, death or property damage, it is always recommended to contact the authorities since the police can provide or call for emergency medical care, secure the accident scene, investigate the accident cause, and provide you with an accident report.
Sometimes there is a small fee involved with obtaining a copy of 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
It’s human nature for some people involved in an auto accident to want to quickly assign blame to someone else. The best practice, however, is for YOU to always tell the truth.
You need to stay calm, and don’t get excited or upset even when there is cause for it. You need to focus on everyone’s well-being and gathering of the necessary information about the accident.
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, try 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 yours 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(s)
• Location of accident
6. Document The Accident
If possible use your cellphone to create documents and take photos of all vehicles and people involved as well as the scene of the accident.
If you can’t use a phone, write down or draw out everything as much as you can… even a used napkin to take notes is better than nothing!
Use the following checklist to properly document the accident:
• 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 police or law enforcement 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.
• If you are using a cellphone upload any photos and written notes to a safe online location. Or you send your files to yourself in an email or via a text message.
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 your insurance provider while you are still at the scene so they can tell you exactly what they need to complete your claim. If this is not possible, you should contact them as soon as you are able.
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 personal physician after any auto 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 Experienced Car Accident 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 – From Fisher Stark , an Asheville Car Accident Law Firm
If you or someone you love have been in a serious accident and live in Asheville or the surrounding communities of Western North Carolina, 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.
We will work hard to get you the justice & fair compensation you deserve. Fisher Stark, P.A. is a highly respected personal injury law firm in Asheville, NC. We provide experienced legal help for clients in Asheville, NC, and all the communities in Western North Carolina. Collectively, our legal team – Perry Fisher and Brad Stark – have more than 50 years of trial practice and have participated in more than 1,000+ injury cases. Call 828-505-4300 for a free consultation.