After a car crash, many people are not prepared for what to do next. The stress and adrenaline from the accident understandably cause people to feel dazed, confused, and scared. That is why being prepared beforehand is so important. By following these steps, you can stay calm and focused in the aftermath of an auto wreck.
After a crash, you should:
- Check for injuries. If you or your passengers are injured, it is important to stay where you are and call 911. You should wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive and provide the necessary treatment for your injuries.
- Get to a safe location. If you are not injured, and the vehicle is able to move, you should try to pull over and get out of the flow of traffic. Whether you pull onto a shoulder or into a parking lot, this can help prevent another collision. However, you should never leave the scene of an accident, even a minor one, because you could be charged with fleeing the scene.
- Exchange information with the other driver. After an accident, you should write down the name and policy number of the other driver's insurance and provide them with yours. The insurance company may want to conduct an investigation into the accident and notifying them will begin the process of pursing a settlement.
- Gather evidence. If possible, you should take pictures of all vehicle damage, visible injuries, and the surrounding scene. Furthermore, you should get the contact information of witnesses, write down the license plate numbers of all the cars involved, and request a copy of the police report.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine and do not receive treatment from emergency responders, it is still important to make an appointment to see your doctor. Soft tissue injuries may not present symptoms right away. Furthermore, if you wait to seek treatment, but you later file a claim for injuries that appeared after the accident, the insurance company may say that your injuries did not occur from the accident. This can make it difficult to seek compensation. Thus, you should see a doctor and request a copy of your medical records.
- Contact a car accident lawyer. Insurance companies are notorious for diminishing the true value of car accident claims or denying them altogether. By retaining an experienced car accident attorney, you can have peace of mind that your best interests are protected.