What to Do After a Car Accident

March 9, 2023 | By Polito & Harrington LLC
What to Do After a Car Accident

Car accidents are life-changing incidents that can leave victims with years of pain and suffering. Whether your injuries are physical, psychological, or both, dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is its own feat. One of the most effective ways to minimize the stress that follows a car accident is to know how to respond. Don’t panic during such a traumatic event—that can make the car accident even more overwhelming. And after the accident, you may say or do something detrimental to your claim without enough working knowledge of the law. Having a car accident lawyer by your side can help you navigate through the legal complexities and protect your rights. Knowing what to do after a car accident with the help of a lawyer can ease the situation and give you a better chance for recovery. It also helps you put your best foot forward to get the compensation you deserve. If the unfortunate happens to you, follow these steps to respond most effectively:

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Call 911

The first thing anyone should do after car crash injuries is to call 911. If you or another party is injured or property damage has occurred, you will immediately benefit from law enforcement professionals on the scene. When talking to the dispatcher, remain calm. A car accident is a stressful situation, and your adrenaline will likely be surging. However, it is best to try to keep things in perspective and act accordingly. Give the dispatcher straightforward answers, and don’t be afraid to admit if you are unsure of any details.

Make Sure Everyone Is Safe

If it is safe to secure the scene, ensure the other parties are safe and move any vehicles out of the road to reduce the chances of another accident. If you have flares in your emergency kit, make sure to deploy them so people know to avoid specific sections of the road. Also, take thorough pictures before moving any vehicles, as this will be important for establishing fault later on.

Exchange Information

Don’t forget to exchange insurance information with the other driver, whether the accident is a minor fender bender or a serious collision. Law enforcement may also ask you for this information, so they can include it on the police report. But obtaining it on your own can be convenient if you need to contact your insurance company until you obtain a copy of the report. In addition to insurance information, which should include the name of the insurance company and the policy number, make sure to get all of the following information from the other driver:
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Vehicle information
When exchanging information, it is important to be courteous and rational. However, refrain from admitting fault or casually commenting on the nature of the accident, as these kinds of things can create problems later on.

Document Everything

Your photos and subjective feelings may be very important if you or the other party decides to file suit after the accident. That’s because both can serve as evidence of injury, pain, or suffering. Additionally, remember to speak with any witnesses and obtain their contact information. This information will enable you to contact them if your car accident lawyer needs to speak with them in the future. If you don’t normally journal, now is a great time to start. Your thoughts and feelings can establish a paper trail following the accident and could prove valuable in the event of litigation.

Communicate With Law Enforcement

Once law enforcement arrives, they will evaluate all parties and check for injuries before taking reports and cleaning up the scene. If they ask you whether you are injured, pay close attention to how you feel, and remember that sometimes injuries sustained from a car accident can take several days to manifest. That’s because when adrenaline kicks in, it can immediately dull the effects of pain, which means you could have injuries without knowing it. Always be communicative with law enforcement. They will create a report based on their findings at the scene of your accident. Once they have finished your portion of the report, find out how to obtain a copy, as this can be a key piece of evidence if you decide to file a claim later on.

Contact Your Insurance Company

After the accident, you should contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. They will usually ask for the other party’s information and the number for the police report, so make sure to have both handy when you call. It is best to let your car accident lawyer handle any communications after the accident to ensure you don’t unintentionally hinder your claim.

Avoid Posting About the Accident on Social Media

Social media can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. On the other hand, insurance companies will use social media to spy on you. With this in mind, posting photos or thoughts about your accident could potentially damage your claim, especially if they fall into the wrong hands. Avoid mentioning details about the accident on social media or any other public forum.

Keep Your Documents Organized

Keeping your documents organized can save you a few headaches throughout this process. Since you will be returning home with several documents, from the police report to eyewitness statements and information, try to make a space to organize everything as soon as you can. Your car accident lawyer may also request their own copies, so make digital copies of every document if you need to.

Have You Been in an Accident?

You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has experienced a car accident injury resulting from someone else’s negligence. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to evaluate the details of your accident and determine the best way to proceed. When it comes to receiving compensation, every day is valuable. Contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn more about your legal options.

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