On average there is a car crash every six minutes somewhere across the country. These accidents come out of nowhere and take you completely by surprise, which can be very unnerving.
The time immediately following the car accident is crucial to making sure everything is handled properly and those at fault are held responsible. Keeping all of your thoughts straight right after such an event can be extremely difficult, which is why it’s a good idea to know what to do ahead of time.
This guide will walk you through each step you should take immediately following any kind of car accident.
1. Stop and Assess
In the moments immediately after an accident, it’s crucial to stop and assess the situation. Nothing is more important at that moment than making sure everyone involved is okay and getting emergency help if needed.
It’s easy to immediately go into panic mode and start to rush around with all of the adrenaline pumping through your body. But try your best to take a deep breath and calm down as much as possible. Give yourself a quick check-up and then do the same for others to see how severe any injuries are.
Taking care of this step will put you in the right mindset for handling what needs to happen next.
2. Call the Police
Even if no one involved in the accident needs emergency medical attention, you’ll want to call the police quickly following the crash.
To some drivers, this can feel like an overreaction or like a hassle to the cops but it will help ensure that things stay on track. The police can act as the mediator between the parties involved, as well as keep traffic moving while the vehicles get cleaned up and moved.
Sometimes police reports will be needed to file insurance claims. So the cops will handle official documentation of the scene by taking photos and statements of witnesses. It can be helpful to have a set of impartial eyes on the situation.
3. Exchange Information
Whenever your auto accident involves another person, you’ll need to exchange information with them. Ideally, this should be done as quickly as possible so you don’t forget in the hustle of trying to manage everything else going on.
As far as what type of information to exchange, there are two main things you’ll want to gather from each other.
The first is going to be insurance information like who their policy is with and what the identifiers for that policy are. A quick picture of their insurance card should be sufficient. Then you’ll want to get their contact information in case you need any follow-up information. It’s helpful to get any witness info as well.
4. Gather Evidence
The difficult thing about being involved in a car accident is that you don’t know exactly what’s to come and what documentation you’ll need but the scene also needs to get cleaned up quickly. So often drivers can miss the opportunity to get the photos they need or to really process what happened before things are moved.
In order to prove negligence by the other party, you’re going to need to be able to show exactly what happened in great detail. It’s better to take too many photos and write down your account thoroughly than be stuck without it later on.
5. File an Insurance Claim
After you’ve made sure everyone is alright and have moved on from the scene, you’ll want to file an insurance claim. This is necessary to help pay for repairs to your vehicle and to cover any medical bills that you receive as well.
Some drivers make the mistake of waiting too long to get this process started and miss their window for coverage.
Once you’ve contacted the insurance company, they’ll walk you through the next steps and provide guidance to help your claim go through. This may require submitting documentation of the accident and bills from mechanics or medical professionals.
6. Contact a Lawyer
While it would be amazing if everything following a car accident could be handled quickly and civilly, this simply isn’t often the case.
Working with such intense emotions and financial stress can cause issues to go unresolved following your crash. The best thing you can do is quickly contact your personal injury lawyer who specializes in auto accidents. Getting a professional involved helps you be sure you’re taking the right steps to get the compensations you deserve.
Be sure to follow your lawyer’s instructions as best you can to get the results you’re looking for. They know the law inside and out, so relying on their expertise is a smart choice.
7. Organize All Documentation
For many car accidents, there is a surprising amount of documentation you have to keep track of. There’s evidence from the accident scene, witness statements, medical records, insurance claims, and many bills. All of this is going to be necessary to have on hand when your case is finally heard.
One of the best things you can do is set up an organizational system to keep all of these things in order.
This way you won’t be scrambling around trying to gather everything at the last minute. You can relax knowing you have everything you need ready to go.
Things to Do Right After a Car Accident
Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident. But chances are you will be at some point during your driving career, it is almost inevitable. And that’s why it’s so important to know what to do right after so you can move forward towards healing and repairing what’s broken.
Working with the right team will make the whole process as easy as possible. And this starts with finding the right lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you every step of the way.
Our team has a deep understanding of the law and the best practices to help our clients with their personal injury claims. If you’re interested in seeing what we can do for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment!