Every year, between 20 and 50 million people from all over the world are injured in car accidents.
Experiencing a car accident injury, no matter how mild it may seem on the outside, can be a traumatic event.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that you don’t just have to worry about managing the injury itself. You also have to worry about all the legal and practical matters associated with the accident.
If you’re not sure what to do after a car accident and want to be prepared in the event that it happens to you, keep reading. Listed below are some tips to keep in mind.
Remain at the Scene of the Accident
It doesn’t matter if you think you and the other driver (or drivers) involved in the accident are okay.
Even if everyone seems fine, you still need to stay at the scene of the accident. Don’t drive away and do your best to keep the other driver (or drivers) there as well.
Call for Help
As soon as you can, call the police and let them now that an accident occurred. If anyone appears to have serious injuries, you should call an ambulance as well or tell the police to send one.
The sooner you can get help to the scene of the accident, the sooner you’ll be able to get to a hospital or get home to your family.
Protect Yourself and Other Drivers
While you’re waiting for help to arrive, make an effort to protect yourself and the other driver (or drivers) from other cars on the road.
Turn on your hazard lights and instruct them to do the same. If anyone happens to have flares or cones in their car, set them up to draw extra attention to the scene and divert other drivers away from it.
Get yourself as far away from the road as you can, too, and encourage the others involved in the accident to do the same.
Take Notes of What Happened
Car accidents often happen so fast that it’s hard to figure out what happened. While you’re waiting for help to arrive, start taking stock of the incident and figuring out how it happened.
While you’re doing this, do not admit fault or say that someone else is not responsible. Work with facts only and don’t guess or speculate. Remember, too, that it’s better to say you don’t know than to give a definitive answer when you’re unsure.
Take pictures of the scene of the accident, too. Use your phone to get pictures of the damage done to your car and the other cars involved.
If there are any other issues, such as a broken stoplight or an obscured stop sign, that may have contributed to the accident, take pictures of them, too.
Always exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident.
Get their names and phone numbers at the very least, and take pictures of their insurance cards so you can reference them later. You also ought to take pictures of their driver’s licenses and license plates.
Seek Medical Attention
As soon as you can, visit a doctor to get checked out. You ought to do this even if you think everything is fine.
Sometimes, injuries take a few days to present themselves. Your doctor might be able to find something that’s wrong before you do, though.
If you start experiencing symptoms later on but haven’t seen a doctor, it might be harder for you to prove that the accident caused those symptoms. This, in turn, can make it harder for you to get the settlement you deserve.
Contact Your Insurance Company
You should contact your insurance provider and the insurance provider of the other driver as soon as you can, too. They’ll help you begin the process of filing a claim and getting your car repaired.
Call a Lawyer
You may also want to consider hiring a lawyer. If you’re having trouble dealing with the insurance company, or if you’ve experienced serious injuries, a lawyer will help you navigate the situation and get the settlement you deserve.
You can see here more information about finding a good car accident lawyer.
Keep Accurate Records
Be sure to keep accurate records of everything that happens after the accident.
This includes records from all of your doctor’s appointments and copies of your medical bills, as well as the bills associated with your car repairs. Hanging onto these records will help you ensure you get an accurate and appropriate settlement.
Take Care of Yourself
While you’re getting everything related to your accident wrapped up, from repairs to negotiating a settlement, it’s important to continue taking care of yourself.
Attend all your doctor’s appointments to ensure your injury is healing correctly. Do your best to manage your stress, too, so that you can continue to heal and don’t experience any other negative health problems.
You may need to see a therapist to work through the trauma associated with the accident, too. There’s no shame in this. It’s not uncommon for people to develop post-traumatic stress disorder after car accidents, and a therapist can help you overcome your symptoms and move on with your life.
You Know What to Do After a Car Accident: Now What?
Most people don’t think at all about what to do after a car accident until they’ve already been involved in one.
The more you know and the more prepared you are before something like this happens, though, the better off you’ll be and the easier it will be for you to handle the issue.
Keep this information in mind for the future. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use it. If an accident does happen, though, you’ll be prepared and know what to do, from seeking medical attention to hiring a lawyer.
If you need more advice on hiring a lawyer to help you after a car accident or another event, visit the Legal section of our site today.