It’s said that there are millions of car accidents every year in the world. It’s also said that about three million people are injured due to auto accidents in the United States.
If you happen to be among the statistics, you could end up failing to go to work and consequently struggling to pay for your medical and house bills.
Knowing what to do after an auto accident could help you move ahead with your life without too much stress and hassles, which could be one of the main benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer.
How you react after an auto accident makes a huge difference. To help prepare you in case of an accident, here are some steps you should take immediately after the accident.
Ensure Your Safety
Feeling disoriented and shaken after an auto crash is normal. However, you’ll need to try and compose yourself by taking a deep breath and trying to focus. When you’ve gained a bit of composure, pull your vehicle safely off the road and out of the way of other traffic. After you’ve pulled over to the side of the road, you have to turn on your hazard lights to inform other drivers.
It’s important to remember that you’ll need to leave your vehicle immediately if you smell any leaking gas. Try not to take any chances as there could be a chance of an explosion or fire. If you’re unsure what to do, just move to a safe distance and wait for the police. Above all else, your safety is the most important thing.
Remember not to leave the accident scene as this could put you at risk and make it difficult to file any claims later. If someone has been badly injured or killed, you could face significant legal action if you leave the accident scene without police clearance.
Access Your Injuries
Next, you’ll need to do a quick assessment of your injuries. Check if you’re bleeding or hurting anyway, and if so, you may need to call 911 for emergency responders. If you feel okay, you can check if any other victims may need help. If there are any other people involved, try to help but avoid talking about the accident. Administer basic first aid if you can, but call 911 and try to keep the victim calm while the emergency services arrive.
Even though you may not feel pain, you may be injured, so it’s important to visit the emergency room to be sure you’re okay.
Call The Police
In some states like Tennessee, it’s a legal requirement to report an accident. You, therefore, have to call the police as soon as you’re safely out of the way of other traffic. The police will typically take an accident statement which attorneys will use to evaluate your legal case.
The police will provide a report with information regarding the accident, the parties involved, and anything else useful at the attorney’s office. Be sure to get the investigating officer’s details so that you get a copy of the report when it’s ready.
Avoid Small Talk
While you wait for the police to arrive, try not to engage in unnecessary small talk or share your opinions regarding the accident. If you feel like talking, you could try to get the contact details of any other people involved in case you need them later.
Gather The Facts
Try to gather as much information as you can about the accident while you wait for the police. You’d need information such as the other driver’s:
- Full name
- Contact numbers
- Home address
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance information
After you’ve obtained the other driver’s details, you could also look around and check for any other information that may determine the cause of the accident. This may include:
- The time of the accident
- The location of the accident
- The road you were driving on
- The nearest intersection
- The direction you and the other car were headed
- The conditions on the road
- What do you think could have happened.
It’s important to write down these things if you can because chances are you might forget some of the details later. If you don’t have a pen and paper to take down the notes, you could use your cell phone to record audio or take a video if possible. If none of this is possible, try to remember things and write them down as soon as you get home. If anyone else witnessed the accident, ask for their information so your attorneys can contact them later.
If you can, try to take as many photos as possible, as this will help support your claim. Here are some of the things you could take photos of:
- The accident location
- The street the accident occurred
- On which part of the street
- Signs of the closest intersection
- Property damage
- The car wreckage
Contact The Insurance Company
Whether or not you’re at fault, you’ll need to contact your insurance company after an accident. This helps them with assisting your attorney with information about the other driver and the insurance. It could also help in case the other driver is uninsured.
If the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t get a hold of you a few days after the accident, you may also want to contact them to let them know that you were involved in an accident with one of their clients. Be sure to only discuss the most basic information possible, especially if you’re going to involve an attorney. In such a scenario, avoid giving any recorded statements as this may conflict with your attorney’s statements.
Keep Records Of Any Medical Care
If you’ve received any medical attention because of injuries from the accident, be sure to keep all receipts and invoices from the doctor’s visits. These may be useful if you are to make any claims later.
Call An Accident Attorney
Sometimes, filing insurance claims and filing for compensation can be a nightmare. Call an accident attorney and discuss your accident and any other costs relating to it. Also, provide them with all the information you gathered at the accident scene. Your attorney will normally advise you on the best way forward. Always remember to get the best attorney to represent your concerns.
When involved in an accident, always remember to ensure your safety, assess your injuries and those of others, call 911, gather any information about the crash, call your insurance provider, and last but not the least, call your lawyer. By keeping these steps in mind, you’ll rest assured that you can handle any unfortunate situation, like an auto accident.