What should I do after a car accident?

Auto accident involving two cars on a city street


What should I do after a car accident?​

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There are more than six million crashes in America every year, yet most citizens don’t know what to do after a car accident.

While some of these car accidents only result in property damage, the majority result in injuries. These injuries can have lifelong consequences, or even result in fatality.

With over four million Americans getting injured annually due to car accidents, it’s vital that everyone knows what to do if they are ever hit by a vehicle.

If you are involved in a car accident, these ten steps can help you protect your rights, keep yourself safe, and preserve your health.

10 Things You Need to Do After a Car Accident

1. Assess Yourself

Before you exit the vehicle, do a self-assessment to determine what injuries you have sustained. This will not replace a medical examination by a licensed doctor, but it can help you determine if it is safe for you to move.

Your health should be your first priority after a car accident.

If you need immediate medical attention due to an injury, you will skip many of the following steps to immediately call an ambulance.

If you determine that your injuries are not severe, you can then proceed to step two.

2. Get Somewhere Safe

Car accidents, especially truck accidents, can be unsafe. If a car’s gas tank has been ruptured or if either vehicle is carrying a toxic item, there is a chance of fire on the scene.

Additionally, car accidents often occur in highly trafficked areas, such as highways. It is unwise to remain on a busy road, as you could get hit by another vehicle.

If it is possible to safely move your vehicle, you can pull over to the side of the road. If not, exit your vehicle and move to a safe position nearby.

3. Call the Police

You are legally obligated to report an accident.

While the other party may want to settle it without insurance or the police getting involved, it is in your best interest to call the police to the scene. The police will be able to contain the scene, gather evidence, and file an official police report that can help you in your car accident lawsuit.

4. Make a Record of Events

After a car accident, memories become hazy. Adrenaline can cloud your recollection of events. To help you retain valuable information, take a moment to write down a timeline of when things occurred and what you remember of the accident.

This record of events will help your attorney determine negligence.

5. Take Pictures

Even those who have no idea what to do after a car accident still have the presence of mind to take a few photos. Photographic evidence is one of the strongest things you can present in court to defend your case.

Although the police will document the scene themselves, it is important to have your own record of what happened after a car accident. If the police accidentally write down something incorrectly or the defendant tries to claim something falsely, you can use your photographic evidence to set the record straight.

Take photographs of:

  • The damage to all vehicles
  • Any and all personal injuries
  • Weather conditions
  • Road conditions
  • The state of the other driver (i.e. intoxicated)
  • License plates of all cars involved

6. Exchange Information

The police may facilitate this for you.

Exchange information with anyone involved in the car accident. You will need their name, address, telephone number, driver’s license, and license plate number.

Even if someone was a passenger, it’s vital to have their contact information in case you need their testimony for trial later.

Additionally, you will need the police report number so you can access the police report after the fact to file your lawsuit.

7. Speak With Witnesses

Get the names and contact information of all witnesses. Ask them for a brief statement. Your attorney will contact them later for a more in-depth interview to get their account of the accident.

8. Seek Medical Attention

Protecting your rights also means protecting your health.

You cannot file a car accident lawsuit until you know the full extent of your damages. After a car accident, you need to go to a licensed medical professional for a full examination.

They will be able to determine if you have any hidden injuries which you may not feel yet, thus saving you days of further aggravating the injury.

Retain all bills from medical exams to recover as economic damages in your lawsuit.

9. Call Your Insurance Company

You will need to file a claim with your insurance company.

Depending on your state, you may need to first file a suit against your own insurance for damages. For example, no-fault states like Florida require you to get compensation from your personal injury protection coverage under your insurance before you can consider filing a lawsuit against another party.

10. Call a Car Accident Lawyer

The best thing you can do to protect your rights after a car accident is to call a car accident lawyer.

People assume they can handle a car accident lawsuit on their own. Then they end up bullied by insurance companies into taking a low settlement, having the blame shifted onto them, or missing the statute of limitations window.

An Expert Car Accident Attorney is Here to Help

You may not know what to do after a car accident, but a lawyer always does. If you have been in a crash, you need the guidance of an experienced car accident attorney.

We have been defending victims like you for decades, helping them through the challenging process after a car accident. Our dedicated team is here to support you through your healing by taking over the difficult details of your case.

Call us today for a free consultation.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is imperative that you surround yourself with the best legal care as soon as possible.

Fill out the form below to get started for free.

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