You hop in your car thinking about the million and one things you need to get done in the course of the day, but then just a few miles along on the highway everything comes to a screeching halt. Whatever you were thinking about earlier has gone out the window, and now the only thing you really want to know is what to do after a car accident.
Things to Do After A Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can be a scary, sobering experience. You and the other driver along with passengers in each vehicle may have suffered injuries, in some cases severe. You may lose time from work. And you’ll have to deal with vehicular damage as well. However, there are ways to help make the process less overwhelming. Here are eight things you should do after you’ve experienced a car accident.
1. Get To Safety
Granted, every car accident is different, but if you can safely get your car off to the side of the road and out of the line of traffic, do so right away. The last thing you want is a second accident involving a passing vehicle. Likewise, if your car is immovable but you and any passengers can safely get out and away from traffic, do so immediately.
2. Call the Police
The very next thing you should do after a car accident is call the police. Chances are witnesses have already called 911, but even if they haven’t, law enforcement will ensure that emergency response teams are dispatched right away. Don’t be dissuaded by the other driver if they try to tell you the accident is minor or there is no need to involve insurance companies. It’s important that the accident be reported and evidence collected.
3. Exchange Insurance and Contact Information With the Other Driver
In most cases after a car accident, this information will become available to you in the report prepared by law enforcement. Depending on the situation, however, it may take time for the police to arrive and there may be a chance the other driver leaves the scene before they arrive — especially if they know they are at fault. In the interest of everyone’s well-being, you’ll want to check on the other driver and their passengers anyway, so this is an opportune time to at least take down their vehicle make, model, and license plate number. If you can get their name and address and insurance information at that time, all the better.
4. Make Good Use of Your Cell Phone Camera
When you went to talk to the other driver, did you notice open alcohol containers in their car? Was their windshield covered with mud causing visibility problems? Were there hazards in the road that might have caused the accident? Taking pictures of the scene in real-time directly after a car accident can bolster your case with an insurance company or if you need to argue it in court.
5. See Your Doctor
After a car accident, if you’ve been seriously injured, an ambulance will likely transport you to the hospital. But you should also see your doctor if you’ve sustained only minor bumps and bruises. Not every injury manifests itself immediately and if you discover you need treatment of any kind at a later date, it will be important that your medical records indicate your injuries were the result of the accident.
6. Keep Your Receipts
That doctor’s visit just mentioned above? Keep your receipt of the bill. In fact, after a car accident, it’s important to keep a receipt for all medical bills you incur related to the accident. The same goes for any other expenses such as a rental car, car repairs, gas receipts for traveling to doctors’ appointments, and any payroll documents from work. Keep multiple copies, including digital copies, so you don’t have to worry if something gets misplaced.
7. Call Your Insurance Company
There are many things you need to follow through on after a car accident, and keeping your insurance company in the loop should be near the top of the list. Don’t delay, even if you are unsure whether or not you are at fault. If the other driver was found to be the responsible party but left the scene before the police arrived or had insufficient coverage, you may need to rely on your own coverage for some of your losses.
8. Keep Quiet and Call a Car Wreck Lawyer
While you’ll need to cooperate with the police with the accident report, there’s no need to provide too much information to the other driver, comment on social media, or be overly talkative with their insurance provider. Don’t give the insurance provider permission to record your statement and don’t allow them to have anything beyond your current medical records. Why? If you’ve been injured, some may try to tie your injuries to a pre-existing condition to get out of paying you your full compensation due.
If your damages are severe, it is in your best interests to contact a reputable car wreck lawyer as soon as you can after a car accident. Their skilled attorneys will use their ample resources to fully investigate the accident and gather information such as through eyewitness reports, traffic camera footage, and cell phone records.