Every year, there are over five million police-reported car accidents in the US. 43% of these accidents result in injuries, and even if you escape unscathed from a crash, you still need to worry about your mental health and vehicular damage.
Knowing exactly what to do during such an adrenaline-packed moment can be difficult. So to save yourself some trouble, learn about what to do beforehand. That way, should you get into a collision, your brain will automatically know the next steps.
Keep reading for the key follow-up tasks after a car accident you need to carry out.
Check for Injuries and Safety
Immediately after the crash, you should assess yourself for injuries. Once you’re sure you’re in relatively good shape, then check your passengers if you have any. If anyone’s seriously injured, call 911 immediately.
Otherwise, if it’s safe to do so, move your car to the side of the road. This will prevent further accidents.
If your vehicle’s too badly damaged to drive, then put your hazard lights on. If you have warning triangles, set these up behind your car so the oncoming traffic has fair warning about a stopped vehicle ahead.
Contact Law Enforcement
Next, call the local police or appropriate law enforcement agency. They’ll come out to take a look at the accident scene and make an official report.
This report is important, as it’ll note injuries and significant damage. Should you have a dispute over fault, the official report will come in handy.
Not only is it always a great idea to have the scene documented, but for you to get a copy of the report too. It’ll provide evidence if you’re filing with insurance or suing another party.
While you’re waiting for law enforcement to arrive, exchange information with everyone else involved. Get their:
- Contact details (phone number or email)
- Vehicle information
Were there any witnesses that saw the car crash? Then collect contact information from them too. Their testimony will be beneficial when you’re filing any legal claims.
Don’t admit fault, even if you’re sure you caused the collision. In addition, say as little as possible, as even an “I’m sorry” can be construed as admitting fault.
Document the Scene
If you’re able to, you should take as many photos and videos as you can of the accident scene. In addition, document injuries on both you and your passengers, vehicular damage, skid marks, surrounding streets and properties, and any other relevant details.
While you’re doing this, note the time, date, location, weather conditions, and road conditions.
This can also be a good time to jot down everything you can remember about the collision. While the details are fresh in your mind, write them down, as you never know if you’ll forget them later on. These details can get jumbled too, so if you have a personal record, that’ll be ideal.
Notify Your Insurance Company
At your earliest convenience, contact your insurance company. You’re obligated to report the accident and initiate the claims process if necessary. However you choose to contact them (phone, email, etc.), make sure you provide them with accurate and detailed information about the accident.
Don’t let the other party talk you into settling without getting the insurance companies involved, especially if it’s a huge accident and they were at fault.
Seek Medical Attention
Whether you only have a few scratches and bruises or you’ve got serious injuries, it’s vital that you seek medical attention promptly after your car accident.
You might not be aware of anything that’s wrong since you’re possibly in shock and have adrenaline coursing through your body to mask the pain. Plus, some injuries might not be immediately apparent, but a doctor can detect them and take the right actions to ensure you’re in minimal pain and heal optimally.
More importantly, if you want to file claims, the other parties (including the insurance companies) will want to see that you had a medical examination right after the crash. If not, they may think that you’re faking injuries to get more money from them. Make sure you keep all copies of medical records, bills, and receipts related to the injuries sustained from the accident.
Notify Your Employer
There’s a chance that the crash has had a tremendous impact on your physical and/or mental health. You may find it difficult or impossible to return to work for a while, so you’ll have to make arrangements with them.
Inform them about the situation and discuss your options. You might be able to work from home, or you might have to take paid days off to recover.
Gather Evidence for Legal Purposes
If you’re considering taking legal action, then you’ll have to gather evidence. This is where all the above steps culminate into something actionable.
Get your witness statements, photos, and other documentation that could support your case. These will be very helpful for your car accident claim.
Contact a Lawyer
Not everyone has to do this, but if the accident involved significant damage, injuries, or complex liability issues, it’s in your best interest to consult with personal injury lawyers. Hiring local attorneys is optimal; for example, if you suffered a crash in Honolulu, then your best bet is car accident lawyers in Honolulu.
With these legal services, you can understand your rights and what potential actions you can take. The attorney will also be your advocate and make sure that you aren’t taken advantage of.
Do These Follow-Up Tasks After a Car Accident
These follow-up tasks after a car accident are essential to do if you’re ever in a collision. Do them promptly, especially if you want to take legal action.
Hiring a lawyer may not be necessary, but keep that in mind as a possible option. Going through a crash can be traumatic and tough to heal from, so having a legal professional on your side can be a lifesaver.
If you want to keep learning about legal topics, then browse the rest of our blog.