What Steps Should I Take After a Car Accident?
Did you know that about 40,000 people die in fatal motor vehicle crashes in a typical year in the United States? On top of that, many more people end up in car accidents that cause injuries and other damages. Considering how common car accidents are, it is important that everyone knows what to do after being involved in one.
The bad news is that some people make serious mistakes after being involved in a car accident. Mistakes that can cause them to lose precious opportunities to get the help they need after sustaining injuries.
On the other hand, knowing what steps to take after a car accident can help you minimize the damage and get as much help as possible as you recover. Read on to learn all about the most important things to do after getting in a car accident.
Prevent Further Damage After a Car Accident
The first few seconds and minutes after being involved in a car accident can be crucial. There are some steps you can take to make sure that you do not end up with more injuries or damage than necessary. First, you should assess your own injuries.
In most cases, you will still be able to move around and complete some important tasks. However, if you have sustained damage to your spinal cord, it can be important that you stay as still as possible until medical help arrives.
If you find that you cannot control parts of your body, make sure to lie still and do not allow anyone to move you. That means you may need to be prepared to give instructions to others who may think they are helping by trying to move you. Prepare yourself to speak up and explain why it is vital that you be left alone until medical professionals arrive.
However, in most cases, you will be able to do things like remove yourself from potential further harm. In some cases, it might be helpful to move your car away from the road to avoid the possibility of a second crash.
You can even set up a perimeter around your vehicle to add visibility and safety. At the very least, you should make sure to turn on your hazard lights.
Call the Authorities Right Away
Once the risk of further imminent damage is minimized, you will want to call 911. This provides several benefits. First, this ensures that medical help will arrive as soon as possible. After a car accident, the difference of a few minutes can sometimes have a huge impact on people's injuries.
On top of that, calling the authorities means that the police will arrive to assess the situation and make sure that everyone is okay.
Plus, making a call as soon as possible creates an official record of your accident. If you end up explaining what happened in a courtroom later on, having created this official record may come in handy. It can show that the situation was serious enough that you saw fit to call the authorities right away.
Speak With the Other Involved Party
In some cases, it can be helpful to speak with the other party involved in your car accident. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, there is a higher chance that people will be upfront and honest about what occurred.
If you and the other driver can come to an agreement about who was responsible, that can save you from needing to prove they were responsible despite their denials later on. For this reason, it can even be helpful to record your conversations with the other party.
Gather as Much Evidence as Possible
You will also want to gather as much evidence as possible as soon as possible. As minutes go by, some kinds of evidence will be lost forever. The sooner you can capture what happened, the easier it will be to prove your side of the story if you end up filing a lawsuit later.
Take photos or record videos of both vehicles and any damage they have sustained. If they have left any marks on the road or damaged any nearby objects, you will want to record that as well.
It is also a good idea to take pictures or record videos of your injuries and those of anyone else who was in your car. If the other party is willing to let you record their injuries as well, that is even better.
Injuries change a lot as they begin to heal. Capturing evidence of what your injuries were like when they were fresh can be invaluable if you later need to establish the seriousness of your injuries in court.
File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
Once you have managed the immediate aftermath of an accident, you can move on to speaking with your insurance company. Keep in mind that it can be helpful to have a car accident attorney's help when you are filing your insurance claim. The process can be complicated and mistakes can cost you money.
In fact, you might even find that you need legal representation to get assistance from your insurance company. Some insurance companies hesitate to pay for their customers' injuries or damages even if they are supposed to.
See a Doctor as Soon as Possible
Make sure to see your doctor as soon as you can after being involved in a car accident. This can be important even if you think your car accident injury is minor.
Sometimes, the full extent of your car accident injuries will not be clear until hours or even days later. If you notice that your body is developing new symptoms in the few days following your accident, realize that they might be related to your accident.
Seeing your doctor will create an official record that can come in handy if you decide to file an auto accident lawsuit later.
Avoid Anything That Might Damage Your Case
Most car accident lawyers will warn their clients against saying things that can weaken their cases. It is easier than you might think to demolish your chance of winning a car accident lawsuit in court. Statements that seem innocent could be used as evidence to dismiss your case or decrease how much you receive from it.
You might not be able to receive typical car accident settlement amounts if you are incautious when you talk about your accident.
Decide if You Will File a Car Accident Lawsuit
Finding a lawyer in car accident situations is often a vital priority. However, you don't need to choose a lawyer for your car accident lawsuit right away.
Even before you know who you will hire, make sure to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible about whether or not you have a viable case on your hands.
A lawyer at a car accident law firm can assess your situation. Based on car accident law, they might tell you that you could not win a lawsuit even if you wanted to. On the other hand, if you work with the best car accident attorney you can find, they might tell you that you could receive significant compensation for your damages.
Find the Best Car Accident Lawyer Near Me
Finding a great lawyer is often harder than just typing "car accident lawyer near me" into a search engine. You might want to look at reviews online to help you consider your options.
It is vital to understand that not all car accident lawyers have as much experience with car accident cases as you might think. Some car accident attorneys spend the majority of their time in other areas of the law, like taxes or family law.
Make sure to find a car accident lawyer who has devoted a considerable amount of their career to winning car accident cases for their clients.
Know the Steps to Take After a Car Accident
After being involved in a car accident, there is a lot that you can do to avoid taking a bad situation and making it worse. We hope that learning about the most important steps to take after a car accident will help you manage this difficult situation. Of course, that applies to managing your legal situation as well as dealing with the injuries and damages you may have sustained.
To learn more about how you can find the right car accident lawyer to help you, reach out and get in touch with us here at any time.