Roughly once every 17 years, you’ll be involved in some kind of a car accident.
Whether it’s a minor fender-bender that only slightly scrapes your mirror of if it’s a much more serious car wreck, what you do on the scene can have a huge impact on the eventual outcome.
However, in the moments after a wreck, it can be impossible to think about what to in a car accident. It’s also incredibly easy to let your instincts and emotions take over — leading you to do (or fail to do) something you might later regret.
That’s why you should know what to do after a car accident before you ever get in one in the first place.
This post is here to help with that.
Read on to learn the right steps to take on the scene and in the days/weeks after the accident.
On The Scene
The very first thing you need to think about if you’ve been in a car wreck is your safety.
If you and your car are able to move, then drive it off on the shoulder of the road, out of the way of oncoming traffic. Doing this doesn’t just protect you, but also the other drivers on the road.
Next, assess yourself for any injuries. Whether you have minor cuts, pain in your arms or legs, or even a head wound, if you’re able to, take pictures and videos of your injuries.
Then, you’ll need to call the authorities — even if the other person involved in the wreck has claimed they already have. Unfortunately, many drivers involved in car wrecks do flee the scene, so you can’t yet take them at their word.
Now is the time to take pictures of the other vehicle’s license plate and even the other individuals on the scene. If possible, try to avoid speaking with the other driver as much as you can before the police arrive on the scene. You could end up saying something that you don’t realize makes it seem like you were at fault for the wreck.
While you wait, try to spot any witnesses and take statements from them. Also, be sure to collect their contact information. You may need to get in touch with them if the case makes it court.
Once the police arrive on the scene, they’ll create an accident report.
Make sure you get their badge numbers and know the precincts they work with, so you can also contact them if need be.
The Day of the Accident
Even if you don’t think that you’ve sustained any injuries from your car accident, we strongly suggest that you still go to an urgent care center.
Keep in mind that many car accident injuries aren’t visible or even instantly noticeable, such as internal bleeding. Plus, your doctor may be able to provide you with valuable information that could strengthen your case in court.
Unfortunately, some injuries, such as whiplash, don’t show up until a few days after your accident. It’s always a smart idea to schedule a follow-up appointment with a medical professional about a week after the accident.
Be sure that you save all of your medical records and billing receipts so that you can submit them to your insurance company.
Now is also the time to contact your health and car insurance companies so that you can start understanding the kind of coverage they will offer you.
The Week of the Accident
So, you’ve been to the doctor’s office, filed a claim with your car insurance company, and are keeping all the receipts you’ve been given for charges related to the accident.
In an ideal world, everything would end here. You’d get all your medical expenses reimbursed, the other driver would take the blame without argument, and your car insurance company would happily pay for repairs.
Obviously, that’s just not going to happen.
That’s why in many cases after a car accident, you’ll also need to learn about your legal options.
A lawyer can help you with a variety of things relating to your car wreck.
They may be able to negotiate with your health and car insurance companies on your behalf, potentially getting you more coverage than these companies initially offered. They can also help you and the other driver(s) involved in the wreck to settle out of court.
Of course, in some cases, your car wreck case will end up going to trial.
In this case, you’ll absolutely need to have an attorney on your side.
Not only will they help to make sure you’re not blamed for an accident that wasn’t your fault. In many cases, they can help you to receive a higher settlement amount.
Need More Help Understanding What to Look for in a Car Wreck Lawyer?
We know that being involved in any kind of a car wreck can take a huge toll on you, both physically and mentally.
Especially if you suspect that your accident could turn into an ugly court case, you need to hire a car accident lawyer to represent you.
Curious about the top traits you should look for to ensure you hire the best one possible? Want to learn more about the most common car accident injuries, and potential signs to watch out for?
Are you concerned that your current car insurance plan isn’t as comprehensive as you’d like it to be?
Our blog can advise you on all these topics and many more.
Keep reading through our daily posts to make sure you know what to do in any kind of crisis.