A car accident is frightening. Drivers tend to panic when they lose control of their vehicles. Injuries and pain can make things worse and cause drivers to forget the basic steps to take after a car accident. However, if drivers remind themselves of the proper procedure, they can minimize their injury, streamline the settlement process, and receive proper medical care as soon as possible.
1. Wellness Check
The first thing drivers should do is check themselves for injuries. Unexplained pain or a loss of feeling warrants emergency treatment. Car accidents can result in blunt trauma, piercing injuries, slashing wounds, and internal damage. If you see blood or experience serious pain, you should call for help.
If your injuries do not warrant immediate treatment, check on the other driver, and see if they need assistance. They may struggle to call for help if they suffered serious injuries or were knocked unconscious.
2. Call for Help
If anyone suffered serious injuries, those at the scene should call for emergency services as soon as possible. Having skilled medical providers look people over can be the difference between life and death.
Drivers must file a police report if anyone was injured or killed at the scene. Reports are also required if there’s more than $500 in vehicle damage. Police reports are often inadmissible in court, but they effectively document that an accident occurred and offer helpful evidence in an out-of-court settlement.
3. Document the Accident
You should always take pictures after an accident, regardless of severity. Whether it’s a fender-bender or a crash resulting in a totaled vehicle, both parties should take pictures of the scene. These create a record of the damages and can illustrate the circumstances that led to the crash.
When taking photos of the accident, drivers should get a picture of each car, a wide shot that includes both cars, a close up of the damages, and a picture of the other driver’s license plate.
4. Exchange Information
Drivers should always trade insurance information after an accident. This includes trading names, home address, phone numbers, insurance providers, policy numbers, driver’s license numbers, and license plate numbers.
5. Go to a Doctor
Regardless of who was at fault, anyone in a car accident should go to a doctor within three days of the accident. Going to the doctor improves the chances of discovering unseen injuries and can prevent symptoms from worsening. Likewise, going to the doctor tells the insurance companies that the injuries sustained warranted immediate medical treatment.
6. Call Insurance Providers
Drivers usually have 24 hours to notify their insurance company about the accident. This is simply a notification stating that an accident happened. This call is not to determine liability. Drivers should take care to refuse any request for a recorded statement. Recorded statements are permanent and can make it more difficult to obtain rightful compensation.
7. Call an Attorney
After managing their wellness, injured parties may wish to speak to an attorney. An experienced attorney will negotiate with insurance companies and might secure a greater settlement than initially offered. Likewise, an attorney can pursue damages against the responsible party and help the injured obtain justice.