After the Accident: The Top Steps to Take After an Auto Accident
Over 2 million Americans are injured or disabled in car accidents annually. Some people have a false sense of security when they get behind the wheel of a car. If you think that car accidents are something that only happen to other people, you are sadly mistaken.
While safe driving habits and a well-maintained vehicle can keep you out of harm’s way, they are not foolproof methods of avoiding car accidents. Sometimes, the negligence of another driving will lead to an auto accident occurring. Once the initial shock of being involved in a car accident wears off, you need to regain your composure and start making moves.
The following are some of the most important things you need to do following an auto accident.
Check Yourself for Injuries
There are several injuries that can happen because of being involved in a car accident. The first thing you need to do following a car collision is to check your body for signs of injury. While you may notice cuts, bumps and bruises caused by the accident, other injuries may not be immediately detectable.
Often times, internal and muscle injuries will get worse. Instead of relying on your own judgment to assess injuries following an accident, you need to consult with medical professionals. The EMTs working the wreck you are involved in will probably recommend that you follow up with your primary care doctor.
In some cases, you may need to visit a chiropractor to address neck and back injuries. Finding a chiropractor who has experience in providing comprehensive car accident treatment is vital. With their help, you can regain your mobility following an auto accident.
Call the Police Immediately
Once you have inspected your body for injuries after a car accident, the next step you should take is informing the police. Calling 911 is probably the best way to get both a police officer and an ambulance on the way in a timely manner. After you have contacted the authorities, they should arrive in a matter of minutes.
The biggest mistakes most people make is trying to handle an accident on their own. Even if the damage seems minor, you need a police report on file. These reports will assign fault for the accident and will also include statements from witnesses.
Having this documentation is imperative if you decide to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver later on. Ignoring the need for the help of law enforcement can put you in a very compromised position later on.
Taking Notes Is a Good Idea
Being involved in a car accident can be an extremely stressful and scary experience. Allowing your emotions to take over in a situation like this may lead to mistakes being made. This is why you need to start taking notes about what happened immediately.
Whether you write these notes down or use the voice recorder feature on your phone, having details about the wreck is crucial. The first bit of information you need to find out is the license plate number of the other driver. If the driver tries to flee the scene, this number can help identify them.
You also need to take the time to get the other driver’s name, insurance information and phone number. The more information you get from the driver, the easier you will find it to avoid problems should a lawsuit need to be filed.
Take a Few Pictures of the Scene
Keeping a record of the accident is imperative. While writing down notes is beneficial, you need to take this one step further by taking a few pictures. Most people have phones with cameras on them, which makes taking these pictures easy.
Once you have your phone out, be sure to focus on snapping photos of the damage to your car and your body. Taking multiple pictures of the crash can help you provide law enforcement and your lawyer with a glimpse of what transpired.
While you will have to spend some time taking these pictures, it will be worth it. If at all possible, you need to speak with witnesses of the accident to find out what they saw. Taking down their contact information is also a good idea.
File an Insurance Claim
After the dust from your accident has settled, you will be ready to file an insurance claim. There are a few ways you can get this process started. The first is by contacting the insurance company directly.
The second method you can use when filing an insurance claim is seeking out the help of a lawyer. Before you start the filing process, you need to get some important information together.
The insurance company will want to know the date, time and location of the accident. You should also provide them with any pictures or videos you took of the accident.
Contacting a Lawyer
Was the accident you were involved in caused by the negligent actions of the other driver? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. The only way to figure out what your next move should be is by consulting with a lawyer.
Once a lawyer looks over the details of your accident, they can let you know if the case is worth pursuing. If the lawyer feels like you have a winning case, they will offer to represent you.
Try to Stay Calm After an Auto Accident
One of the most important things you need to do after an auto accident is to try and keep your composure. Letting the shock of this event take over can lead to lots of mistakes being made.
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