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Key Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Mar 16th, 2023

carCar accidents can strike unexpectedly, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. The actions you take immediately after an accident, as well as in the subsequent hours and days, can significantly impact your ability to receive just compensation for your damages. Preparing a strategy in advance can not only protect your rights but may also potentially save your life or those of your loved ones. Below, we outline crucial steps to take following a car accident.

Immediately After the Accident

Time is of the essence following a collision, particularly a severe one. Keep this checklist in mind for the moments right after a car accident:

  • Check for injuries. Take inventory of yourself and other passengers in the vehicle to see if anyone is hurt and how badly. If you or anyone else is significantly injured, it’s best to avoid moving until first responders arrive UNLESS there is a danger of fire or if your car is in the middle of oncoming traffic. If you need to move yourself, your vehicle, or others to safety, do so if possible.
  • Call 911. Get first responders on the scene (i.e., police, EMT). Call the police even if the collision is minor so they can fill out a report.
  • Exchange information with the other driver. Be sure to exchange your name, contact information, insurance information, and vehicle registration information with the other driver. It is also essential to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Take photos of the scene. If you have a camera or smartphone, take photos of the accident scene, including any damage to your vehicle, injuries, and other vehicles involved. These photos can help document the accident when filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
  • Do not admit fault. Even if you believe you caused the accident, anything you say or apologize for could be used against you in a personal injury claim. You don’t have to deny anything or lie; just let the evidence speak for itself. (You may not be as much at fault as you think.)
  • Get medical attention for yourself and your passengers, even if you think you’re okay. Sometimes injuries, particularly head injuries, don’t always appear immediately. Get to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible and get checked out by a medical professional. Keep all documentation and receipts.

In the Days Following Your Accident

Once you’ve reported your car accident and gotten treatment, there are still some important things to do in the days and weeks that follow. Here’s a list of critical tasks:

  • Gather all relevant paperwork and evidence. This includes medical records, bills from auto repairs or doctor visits, photographs from the crash scene, witnesses’ contact information—anything that could aid in proving negligence on behalf of another party involved in causing or contributing to your crash. Also, make sure you get a copy of the police report for your records.
  • File your insurance claim. Be sure to document all accident details when filing an insurance claim, including photos and witness testimonies. When filing a claim, be thorough and provide all relevant details, including photographs and witness statements. Avoid admitting fault, but ensure accuracy in your reporting.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The attorney can also deal with the insurance companies on your behalf so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. (In fact, it’s best not to talk to the insurance companies directly as they often look for reasons not to pay your claim based on how you answer their questions. Refer them to your attorney.)

Our team of experienced attorneys can help with all the legal aspects of your accident, from dealing with insurance to filing a personal injury suit, if necessary, to give you greater peace of mind after the accident. Call our offices to schedule a consultation.