Updated: Aug 23
Everything You Need to Do After a Car Accident
Everything You Need to Do After a Car Accident
Recovering from an auto accident depends on the immediate actions you take in the situation. Here is everything you need to do after a car accident.
Keyword(s): after a car accident
There are over six million auto accidents each year in the United States. Around three million people are injured because of a car accident and 37,000 people die each year.
Being in a car accident, no matter the scope of your injury, can be traumatizing. Not only are you dealing with the physical ramifications of an accident, but emotional ones as well.
After a car accident, there are certain steps you should take immediately. In this guide, we'll go over the steps you need to take.
1. Remain Calm and Check for Injuries
Keeping calm will make it easier to deal with the car accident and any potential aftermath. Check to see if you or any other passengers have been injured. Some injuries don't appear immediately after an accident.
Different types of car accident injuries include:
Spinal cord injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
Neck injuries, such as whiplash and headaches
Bruises and lacerations
Always get healthcare attention after being in a car accident. If you start experiencing pain even a few days after, talk with a healthcare professional, preferably a chiropractor who is trauma trained. You can check my credentials here.
2. Move Your Vehicle
If you're able, move your car off of the road. Pull it off the shoulder so it's out of the way of other cars. If it's nighttime or there's fog, turn on your hazard lights.
If you can't move your car, get everyone involved in the car accident to a safe spot away from the road. Check to see if anyone has an emergency car kit that includes reflective triangles or flares to help direct traffic.
3. Call the Police
Even if your accident is minor, it's important to contact the police. You'll want the police report on the off chance your accident was caused by the negligence of the other driver. You may need a car accident lawyer in that case.
Additionally, if the other driver was impaired, a police report will include toxicology information that'll be vital if you file a personal injury claim. Insurance companies always want a copy of the police report.
4. Check All Vehicles for Damage
If you're not hurt and can move around, check all vehicles involved for damage. Take photos and videos of the cars, showcasing any damage incurred. The pictures should be from multiple angles.
Try to take the pictures before you move the cars. If you're unable to take pictures, sketch out a diagram while the incident is still fresh in your mind.
You'll also want to get statements from witnesses who saw the car accident. If you don't have time to get detailed information, write down their contact information. This can include:
All of this information will be important in any insurance or personal injury claims.
5. Get the Other Driver's Information
You'll want to exchange names, contact details, and insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident. If you can, the following information is also useful to get:
Model and make of the vehicles
Name and phone number for any police officers that come to the scene of the accident
All the information you can gather will be helpful for anything you do post car accident.
6. Decide if You Want to File an Insurance Claim
Drivers in most states are required to carry liability insurance on their vehicles. Your auto policy will typically cover damage to your car. Personal injury protection coverage or medpay coverage will cover the cost of any injuries you have.
Figuring out if it makes sense to file an insurance claim depends on:
Your attorney's recommendations
Whose fault it was
Whether there were any injuries
The amount and type of insurance you have
The amount and type of insurance the other driver has
If you decide to file a claim, get ahold of your insurance company immediately. The process for filing a claim varies from company to company. Have all documentation ready, including:
Copy of police report
The information of the other driver
Photos or videos
Your insurance adjuster will assess any injuries or damages to determine how much money will be paid out. However, it is a good idea to contact a car accident lawyer after a car accident. They can guide you through the entire process, guaranteeing an insurance company doesn't take advantage of you.
Things to Not Do After a Car Accident
While knowing the steps you should take after an accident is important, it's equally vital to know what not to do after one.
Avoid these mistakes after an auto accident:
Don't Leave the Scene: Leaving the scene of a car accident could potentially result in criminal charges
Don't Admit Your Guilt: Exchange information with the other driver but be careful to not say anything that could be interpreted as you taking the blame for the accident
Don't Place Blame: Don't point fingers or accuse anyone of causing the accident -- the police and insurance companies will figure that out
Don't Talk to Your Insurance Company Unprepared: Be mindful of what you say if an adjustor from either insurance company reaches out to you -- what you say could potentially affect any future personal injury claims
You'll also want to monitor your auto insurance rates after your accident. Sometimes your premium will increase after an accident.
Follow These Steps After a Car Accident
Being in a car accident can result in physical and emotional traumas. Knowing what steps to take after a car accident is important to ensuring everything goes smoothly during any insurance or personal injury claim process.
If you've recently been in a car accident and need legal help or pain management assistance, we can help. Contact our office today.