Need to know what to do after a car accident? Here is an overview of the steps to take at the scene of the accident and once you get home.
When you’ve been injured, knowing what to do after a car accident is extremely important. If you overlook critical steps, or if you do things you shouldn’t, you could end up without the financial compensation you need to move on.
So, what should you do after a car accident? What should you not do after a car accident? In this article, we cover:
- What To Do After a Car Accident: At the Scene of the Crash
- What To Do After A Car Accident: Once You Get Home
- What NOT To Do After Being Injured in a Car Accident
If you are physically able to do so, there are some important steps you should take at the scene of the crash. The most-important steps to take at the scene of a car accident include:
1. Call 911
If you’ve been involved in a collision with another vehicle, you should call 911. Ask for a police officer to be dispatched to the scene, and let the dispatcher know if you (or anyone else) needs emergency medical attention.
2. Collect the Other Driver’s Insurance Information
In most circumstances, recovering your losses from a serious injury will involve seeking coverage under the other driver’s insurance policy. As a result, you should try (politely) to exchange insurance information.
3. Take Photos and Videos with Your Phone
Take lots of photos and videos with your phone. You can’t have too many. Document the damage to your vehicle, the damage to the other vehicle, the local traffic, any nearby traffic signs or signals, and anything else that you think might be important for your claim.
4. Talk to Any Witnesses
If any witnesses stopped to offer their assistance, ask for their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. You won’t need to contact them directly, but your attorney may want them to provide statements in support of your claim for just compensation.
5. Get a Copy of the Police Report
In most states, you should receive a copy of the police report before you leave the scene. You can feel free to ask the responding officer if necessary.
Once you get home, there are some steps you will want to take sooner rather than later. Here’s what to do after a car accident if you are at home recovering from your injuries:
1. Take Stock of Your Situation
Take a moment to take stock of your situation. Do you have your prescriptions? Have you put the other driver’s insurance information, the police report, and your medical records in a safe place? Do you know your next steps?
2. Take Notes
It is a good idea to take detailed notes of everything you remember about your car accident. This includes the events leading up to the collision as well as what you heard and observed at the crash site. When you talk to an attorney, having these notes available will help you give your attorney the information he or she needs to assess your legal rights.
3. Contact Your Employer if You’ll Need to Stay Home from Work
If you will need to stay home from work during your recovery, you should contact your employer. Your employer might be helpful in explaining your options, or you might need to discuss your options with your attorney. Your attorney can also help you make informed decisions about things like whether you should take sick days or another form of leave, and whether it makes sense to work from home or do low-impact work while you recover.
4. Put Your Next Doctor’s Appointment on Your Calendar
When seeking compensation after a car accident, you need to prioritize your medical care. Put your next doctor’s appointment on your calendar; and, if you will need transportation, make arrangements now to get a ride from a friend or family member.
5. Contact a Lawyer to Help with Your Insurance Claim
You should always talk to a lawyer after being injured in a car accident. Recovering your losses won’t be easy, and you might also be entitled to much more than you think. Your lawyer can deal with the insurance companies for you, and your lawyer can use his or her experience to help you recover maximum compensation.
In addition to knowing what to do after a car accident, you also need to know what not to do in order to protect your legal rights. After a car accident, you should NOT:
- Ignore Your Symptoms – If you experience any new symptoms after your car accident, do not ignore them. Call your doctor and get a diagnosis promptly.
- Ignore Your Doctor’s Advice – As mentioned above, following through with your medical care is extremely important. Don’t ignore your doctor’s advice. If you have concerns, seek a second opinion.
- Try to Deal with the Insurance Companies on Your Own – Trying to deal with the insurance companies on your own can lead to drastic consequences. If you make mistakes, you might receive a fraction of what you are owed, or you might end up without any compensation for your accident-related injuries.
- Resolve Your Claim Before Calculating Your Future Losses – When you have a car accident claim, you are entitled to compensation for your current and future Your future losses will likely account for the biggest portion of your settlement, so you do not want to settle too soon.
- Wait to Talk to a Lawyer – After a car accident, taking action promptly can be essential for making sure you receive the full compensation you deserve. As a result, you should talk to a lawyer through CarAccidentSource.com about your situation right away.
For more information about dealing with the insurance companies, choosing an attorney, and avoiding costly mistakes, you can read our comprehensive Guide: Steps to Take After a Car Accident.