There are over 6 million car accidents that occur within the United States each year. While not all of these result in severe injury, they are often significant enough for you to stop and investigate the consequences.
But, not everyone knows the steps they need to take after they get into a collision.
Confused? Where to start? Don’t be worried. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about what to do after a car accident.
1. Get to Safety
As you may expect, one of the most important steps that you need to take after an accident is getting to safety as quickly as possible. Ideally, you’ll be able to pull off to the side of the road or even pull into a parking lot.
If this isn’t a possibility, it’s best to get into a turn lane or the right lane of the road, as these are the safest places on busier streets.
When you get out of your vehicle, it’s imperative that you never walk into traffic. Although most people slow down when they see that an accident has occurred, there’s always a chance that someone won’t. In this scenario, you could easily find yourself with severe injuries due to someone else’s negligence.
2. Call 911
After you’ve relocated to a safe area, immediately call 911 and report the incident. This will help you accomplish two major tasks:
- The responding officers will Redirect traffic away from the scene of the accident
- They will file a police report the documents everything that occurred at the scene and the events that transpired from their perspective
Even if the accident was relatively minor, your state’s laws may require you to contact law enforcement after the incident. Regardless, make a note of the responding officer’s name and badge number and be sure to request a copy of the police report before law-enforcement leaves the scene.
The presence of law-enforcement will also deter the other party from leaving the scene.
3. Gather Evidence
In order to have the best chance of the incident’s outcome being in your favor, you will need to gather as much evidence as possible. This means exchanging information with the other driver, taking photographs of the scene, and documenting any injuries that you may have.
This last step is particularly important even if you don’t have visible injuries. If you feel dizzy, have neck pain, etc. after the accident, write down how you feel so that you have a timeline of any complications that you may have.
When taking photographs of the scene, it’s often a good idea to record a video so that you can get a more thorough account of the accident. If there were any witnesses at the time of the accident, it’s essential to gather information from them.
One of the most efficient ways to do so is to make an audio or video recording of their statement (as long as they consent to you doing so). If you choose to go with this method, have them state at the current time, the date, and their full name at the beginning of the recording before providing their account of the events that transpired.
4. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel fine after the collision, it’s in your best interest to seek medical attention to rule out any internal complications.
For example, there are many health issues that could arise after physical trauma that may not present symptoms for days or weeks after the initial impact. Internal bleeding is a particularly serious condition that needs to be attended to as quickly as possible.
You will also be able to use your medical records as evidence of your injuries, which can significantly help while pursuing compensation. In fact, you will need to have a complete medical account of the injuries you experienced in order for your insurance company to pay for your treatment.
Additionally, ensure that you convey all of your symptoms to your medical professional so that you can get the best treatment possible.
5. Contact a Legal Professional
More often than not, you will need to enlist the help of a qualified attorney when seeking compensation from the other party. A common scenario involves getting rear-ended by another driver and subsequently dealing with long-term neck and back pain.
Similarly, the other driver’s indiscretion could result in a significant amount of damage to your vehicle.
When searching for a legal representative, be sure that they specialize in this area of law. You wouldn’t want to hire a lawyer who only deals with your type of case on occasion.
You should also ensure that the attorney you hire is communicative. Car accident cases often have a large number of details that need to be sorted out, and it’s ideal that your attorney is easy to contact. Otherwise, they miss out on crucial information that could help strengthen your case.
You can visit this resource for more information about what to look for in a lawyer who represents car accident cases.
Understanding What to Do After a Car Accident Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the information about what to do after a car accident in mind, you will be well on the way to make the decision that’s best for your situation.
Want to learn more tips that can help you out in the future? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog.