Hearing about car accidents is never pleasant and being in an accident yourself can be freakily nerve wracking. It may not be clear to you what you should do immediately following a car crash, so we have put together some information and advice to help you get through this tough situation.
First Things You Do After Being In A Car Accident
- Stay calm, get somewhere safe and make sure you are aware of any possible injuries
- If there are serious neck or back injuries do NOT move the affected person, this can do more harm than good
- Gather and exchange insurance information with others affected
- Get medical treatment, if needed
- Seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, especially if you weren’t at fault
The first action a person should take after a vehicle accident is getting somewhere safe. The individual should speak with all affected members, and this person should make sure everyone is healthy. Those who need medical treatment should seek it immediately. Members seeking medical treatment should keep all documentation relevant to the accident, for the next step is contacting an attorney’s office. An attorney can provide a person with a number of services that may benefit him or her in the end. The accident may fall under the category of personal injury, which is an instance in which one person receives an injury because of another party’s negligence.
Also, after the fact, here is what you should do whether you were at fault or whether you weren’t at fault.
According to the National Safety Council, one in eight motorists will be involved in a car crash this year. With findings like this, it’s easy to become afraid to leave your house. No one thinks an accident will happen to them until it actually does. A car accident can be an overwhelming experience and often crash victims are uncertain how to proceed immediately following an accident.
Immediately Following The Crash – What To Do
Most states require you to stop your vehicle as close to the impact of the accident or you could be considered a hit-and-run driver. It is unlawful to leave the scene of an accident and you could face serious penalties or jail-time for such conduct. Things you should do in the moments following your car crash include:
- Steer your car off the road to the shoulder. If your car is operable, it should be moved out of the line of traffic. This will prevent additional accidents or injuries to other drivers that happen upon the incident. In doing this you are following the law to reduce further disruption and contain the damage.
- Call the police. A formal accident report needs to be taken. Having an official witness to gather details of the incident can help you with the insurance company and a personal injury claim should the matter go to court.
- Call 911 if the accident caused injury. Call 911 if a crash results in leaving someone unconscious or hurt. It is not advised to move those injured in the event there are head and back injuries unless doing so would save the injured party from further risk of harm.
- Exchange insurance information. This should include the name, phone number, and insurance company of the other driver. The information will be included in a police report and you are privy to a copy once it’s available in the records department at the police station.
- Get the contact information of witnesses. Your lawyer and the insurance company will want this information as it will aid in gathering information and corroborating your story. A witness to the accident strengthens your version of the facts.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. Pictures of all the details of the accident can be helpful for the insurance claim. This might include road hazards, the placement of the cars involved in the crash and all damage on the scene.
- Seek medical attention. Whether or not you have visible injuries, it’s critical to be evaluated by a doctor. This is because some potentially life-threatening injuries can remain dormant.
Am I At Fault?
No one plans on getting into a car accident. In the moments following a crash, you may wonder if you are at fault. Or is the other driver at fault? It’s best not to admit fault at the accident scene, even if the other driver is telling you that you caused the accident.
Serious injuries from the car accident can compound the severity of the situation. If you are found at fault and have caused serious injuries to the other driver, you could face a legal battle. Similarly, if you were seriously injured due to the other driver being at fault, then you may need to pursue legal action.
When the immediate crash is over, many people are left with questions about how to handle the aftermath of a car accident. Some important steps include:
- Call your insurance company. Your insurance company will need to be informed directly following an accident especially if the accident is your fault. Whether a state has a fault or no-fault insurance plays a role in determining how a case is handled. For instance, in a no-fault state, this means each insurance company pays the damages for their policy holder. In order to file a lawsuit in a no-fault insurance state, you need the help of a personal injury lawyer.
- Hire an attorney. Asking friends and family for advice or searching the Internet for legal answers will not suffice. In this uncertain time, you need legal advice you can trust. If you were hurt in a crash as a result of a negligent motorist, your injuries are real that may have short or long-term implications. Your personal injury attorney can inform you of your legal options after a careful and thorough consultation. What if your injuries will keep you from work? Lost wages in a household can put a tremendous financial strain on you and your family.