What To Do After a Car Accident
What Happens After a Car Accident?
It can be challenging to know what to do after an accident. Car accidents occur unexpectedly, and a rush of adrenaline and stress might make it difficult to think rationally.
However, in the moments following a collision, when you may be dealing with catastrophic injuries or thousands in property damage, you'll be faced with several difficult decisions to make as an accident victim. That's why you need to know what to do if you're involved in a car accident, whether it's your fault or not.
In the article below, we'll go through some of the most frequent issues car accident victims encounter, as well as an accident checklist on what to do if you're in an auto accident.
Table Of Contents:
- How To Be Prepared for an Accident
- What To Do After a Minor Car Accident
- What To Do After a Car Accident That's Not Your Fault
- What To Do After a Car Accident That's Your Fault
- What To Do When You Get In a Car Accident
- What Happens to Your Body After a Car Accident?
- Hire a Car Accident Attorney
How To Prepare for a Car Accident
Here are some steps you may take to ensure that you are prepared in the event of an accident:
- Keep an emergency safety kit in your trunk. This kit should include reflective emergency triangles, an emergency medical kit, water, a blanket, a flashlight, a disposable camera (your phone can become damaged in the accident), flares, and a notepad with a pen.
- Your major documents, such as a copy of your license, your vehicle registration, a list of emergency contacts, and copies of your health insurance cards, should all be kept in the glove box.
- If your auto insurance company has a mobile app, download it. You can upload accident photos and keep a copy of your proof of insurance.
What To Do After a Minor Car Accident
After a car accident, the things you do tend to be universal, even if it was a minor collision. However, it is essential to make a few distinctions.
After a minor car accident, the first thing you need to do is put your hazard lights on and pull off to the side of the road. You are required by law to stop, even after a minor accident, and you could face criminal charges if you do not stop.
The next thing you need to do is contact the police department so they can file an official police report. This is especially important if you need to pursue compensation for damages. The accident report prepared by the responding officer can be used as evidence for your insurance claim.
Next, you need to check all vehicle occupants for injuries, even if the accident seemed minor. If someone is injured, call 911 and ask for an ambulance.
Lastly, exchange information with everyone involved, including eyewitnesses. Get their full names, addresses, and cell phone numbers. When you speak to witnesses, write down their statements regarding what happened.
What To Do After a Car Accident That's Not Your Fault
If the motor vehicle accident was clearly the fault of a negligent driver, they have to report the incident. But you shouldn't trust them to accurately relay all of the accident details to the proper authorities and insurance company. You might only be able to prove that the crash happened with evidence collected from the auto accident scene location.
The following accident details could contribute as proof when filing accident insurance claims:
- Name, driver's license number, address, and phone number of all involved vehicles
- Proof of Insurance: The name of the at-fault driver's insurance company and their insurance policy number (found on their insurance card)
- Names, phone numbers, addresses, and statements from witnesses of the incident
- Pictures of the accident scene showing the accident scene, vehicle damage, road conditions, and traffic signs
If you aren't sure who's at fault for the accident, the accident record can be very helpful. Calling the police to file a police report will also serve as leverage when during the insurance claim process.
After speaking with the police, contact an accident lawyer and your insurer. If the other driver's insurer denies responsibility for the accident, your insurance company will contest any medical expenses and property damage expenses with the other driver's insurer.
What To Do After a Car Accident That's Your Fault
What should you do if you were in a car accident and it appears to be your fault?
The first thing you need to remember is to never admit fault or apologize, no matter how much it may seem like it was your fault. While it's important to know what to do after an accident that may be your fault, there are also a few things not to do if an accident is your fault.
- Don't Get Angry: Your emotions may be running high after the accident, and understandably so. However, getting mad at the other driver will only hurt your case.
- Don't Admit Fault: Again, even if you think you caused the accident, don't say that to the other driver. Don't even apologize for the accident. The other driver may share fault for the collision and the costs for damage.
- Don't Talk About The Accident: Never discuss the accident details with the other party, their insurance adjuster, their attorney, or anyone else other than your lawyer. Be honest with the police, your lawyer, and your auto insurance company, but don't say more than necessary.
What To Do When You Get In a Car Accident
There are a few things you should do after an accident that are universal. Here are a few of them:
Check for Injuries
Check yourself over after the collision to determine if you were injured and the extent of your injuries. If you need emergency assistance or medical treatment, call an ambulance or ask someone else to notify emergency responders.
Our personal injury attorneys always recommend you seek medical treatment after an accident, as some injuries could be internal. Other injuries can show up days later, such as whiplash.
Move to a Safer Area
If it is safe to do so, and you do not need immediate medical attention, move to a safe spot away from active lanes of traffic.
If your crash only involves vehicle damage, move off the road to a safe location.
Exchange Information and Document the Crash Details
Gather as much information on accident details as you can. The more information you have, the easier it will be for your car accident lawyer to represent your case.
Collect the following information from the other driver:
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver's license number
- Phone number
- Vehicle identification number
- Make, model, and color of their vehicle
After you've exchanged insurance information with the other driver, there are other things our attorneys recommend:
- Take pictures of the vehicle damage of both vehicles
- Take a photo of the driver's license plates
- Get the police report number
- Ask for the police officer's name, badge number, and phone number
- Get contact information from any witnesses to the wreck.
- Take notes or snap photos of any other potentially relevant information, such as traffic signs.
Determine What Insurance Coverage Would Apply
When you talk to an insurance professional about the claims process, you will want to discuss the type of coverage you have, the coverage of the other driver, and how your auto insurance claim will cover you based on who is determined at fault.
Your insurance agent can discuss whether or not you should file an insurance claim and what those steps would be. You can also discuss your insurance coverage with your personal injury attorney.
File an Accident Claim
As an accident victim, you need to file an accident claim to get reimbursed for your medical bills and other accident-related expenses.
You can file an accident injury claim with your insurance company or the insurance company of the negligent driver. It's best to do this with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney that specialized in personal injury cases will be able to tell you everything you can claim in your lawsuit.
What Happens to Your Body After a Car Accident?
Immediately after a wreck, your body undergoes a rush of adrenaline. Adrenaline prepares your body for a response of 'fight or flight.'
After a crash, adrenaline will affect your body in the following ways:
- Increased energy levels
- Decreased feelings of pain
- Increased awareness
- Heightened senses
- Rapid heart rate
- More stamina and feeling stronger
- Dilated pupils
An adrenaline rush can be helpful immediately after a car accident but can also be deceptive.
Adrenaline masks the feeling of pain, so you may not realize you've been injured right after a car crash.
That's why always seeking medical assistance after an accident is important, even if you don't feel injured.
These hidden accident injuries may not present themselves for hours, days, or weeks after the accident. By the time you realize you've been injured, it may be too late to file a personal injury claim and receive fair compensation from the insurance company.
Hire a Car Accident Attorney
The thought of navigating the legal system and filing a potential claim for compensation can be nerve-racking. That's why if you are an accident victim, you should call a law firm that will help you every step of the way.
The personal injury lawyers at Helping the Hurt have represented a wide range of cases in the past and will take care of the complicated legal process of determining fault and filing a traffic accident report. This allows you to focus solely on your physical recovery.
An experienced attorney at Helping the Hurt will ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If you are an accident victim, our attorneys offer free legal advice to help you understand accident laws and work diligently to maximum compensation for your losses.
Contact our office for a free consultation so we can get started on your compensation claim today.