No one wants to be involved in a car accident but there’s always a risk of being involved in one as a road user. Even the most careful drivers can find themselves in a traffic accident. So, it’s important to know what to do in the aftermath of a car accident, should you ever find yourself involved in one.
Emotions such as anger, shock, fear, or anxiety are common after car accidents. It’s your body’s response to what is a stressful or traumatic situation and you should try to stay calm and keep a cool head. It’s easier said than done, but you have to try.
You can’t undo a car accident but there are steps you can take to handle the situation to your best advantage. Here they are:
- Safety is Paramount – Check For Injuries and Move to a Safer Area
All parties involved in a car accident should immediately check for injuries after the crash. If there is anyone in need of medical attention, call emergency services right away. It doesn’t matter if only minor injuries were sustained in the accident.
Even if you feel okay after a car accident, let paramedics examine you as some injuries may not be obvious. If the vehicles involved in the accident are still operational, they should be moved to a sidewalk or a safe, well-lit place nearby. But if your car can’t be moved, you should get yourself and any passenger in your car to a safe distance from the collision. However, it’s important you remain at the scene of the accident.
The police should also be notified of the accident because you may need a police report in case you are sued by the other party. Sometimes the police may not come to the scene because no one was injured or the vehicles aren’t blocking the road and they have to prioritize other cases. In such situations, go to the nearest police statement, report the accident and get a copy of the police report.
- Collect the Right Information
If you think you are safe and calm enough to talk to the other driver, approach them to collect some important information. Avoid talking about who’s at fault and refrain from making admissions. Don’t say you are sorry even if you feel you are at fault.
Exchange only names, insurance, and contact information with the other driver. Also, take pictures of any damage and see if you can get the contact information of any witness.
Don’t make deals with the other driver, even if they are offering you a significant sum. Doing this may expose you to major expenses down the line.
- Contact Your Insurance Provider
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible and provide all information about the accident. Most insurance companies have information about the claims process on their website or mobile app. Check it out if you don’t know how to file a claim and ask questions about anything that’s not clear. Don’t make assumptions. Your insurer may also want to inspect your car to determine the extent of the damage. Virtual claims can also be used to expedite the process.
- Consult a Lawyer
Everything seems to happen in a flash after a car accident so it’s a good idea to speak to your lawyer, especially when you are at the scene. They’ll be able to provide valuable advice that you may not even think of in the stressful moment.
Special circumstances in the aftermath of a car accident may also require specialized attorneys. For example, if you are charged with a DUI (driving under influence) or DWI (driving while intoxicated or impaired).
“If you are facing charges of DUI with Injury or DUI Vehicular Manslaughter, you need to contact an experienced attorney immediately. You could be facing a considerable amount of actual jail time and other legal repercussions that may negatively impact you and your family for years to come,” says Scott C. Thomas, an experienced DUI defense attorney practicing near Orange County, California.
- Follow Up With Your Physician
If you are feeling any pain after being treated by the paramedics or later after the accident, follow up with your physician for additional help. If your physician refers you for further testing or physics therapy, be sure to keep these appointments. If for any reason you can keep an appointment, it’s important you notify the facility, give your reason for not coming, and reschedule.
The reason for this is to have proof of continued medical treatment which can help with your claim. Defense attorneys tend to have field days with injured claimants that miss doctor’s appointments. Their argument is simple. If you are really injured or in pain, you wouldn’t miss medical appointments or fail to follow your doctor’s advice.