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7 Things to Do After a Car Accident
There’s plenty of information out there about what to do to prevent a car accident. But what should you do after one has happened? The next steps you take will have a major impact on your well-being, health, and finances. Here are the 7 steps you must take post-accident.
First things first. Take care of your safety before doing anything else. You can’t help others until you help yourself. Turn on your hazard lights if you can, get out of the car, and move yourself to a safer area as carefully as you can. Never stand in the way of oncoming traffic, and be sure to step aside from the damaged vehicles.
Take a moment to breathe deeply and allow your body to calm down after the trauma you just experienced. While this step may seem obvious, it’s important to follow so that you can respond appropriately post-accident.
Take out any flares if you have them on hand. Turn on your emergency lights to alert other drivers passing by. If you are in a dark area, grab your flashlight or use your phone to see more clearly.
Even seemingly minor injuries should be checked by a healthcare professional. Call 911 to report the accident and any injuries to individuals. If there are no injured parties present, call the police to make a report. This step is critical as your insurance company may require a police report to process your claim.
Check on the Well-being of Others
Always make sure the surrounding area is safe before checking on the well-being of passengers, the other driver, and pedestrians. It can be incredibly nerve-wracking to wait for emergency help but remember that unnecessary movement can be extremely detrimental to an injured person. While waiting with any injured parties, sit with them and let them know help is on the way.
It’s always a good idea to carry a safety kit in the trunk of your car. You can find pre-made kits in many retail stores or create your own. Be sure to include a flashlight with extra batteries, blanket, flares, first-aid kit, drinking water, and a utility knife.
Photograph Scene Before Moving Vehicles
Thanks to smartphones, most of us have a portable camera in our pockets at all times. Take photos of the damage done to both vehicles. You can even use a before photo of your car to more fully demonstrate the extent of the damage. These photos will help the insurance company determine the level of compensation needed.
Photograph Tags and Identification Belonging to Others
Unfortunately, you can’t always assume that others will do the right thing and follow up with their insurance companies or be truthful. Always take photos of the tags of any vehicles involved and the identification of the drivers. Having this information readily accessible will make it much easier on you in the long run.
Make sure you have the following:
- Phone numbers
- Driver license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
Photograph Ids and Tags Belonging to Witnesses
If there are witnesses to the event, talk to them about what they witnessed and make note of it on your smartphone. Jot down their names and contact information. Take photos of any IDs or tags.
As police assess the scene, be sure to remain calm and cooperative. It is in your best interest to avoid admitting fault but remain truthful. The police will observe the scene and determine who is at fault for the accident.
Seek Medical Care
If you sustained any injuries, seek immediate medical care. Keep track of doctor’s visits and treatments. Log any medications you take and make copies of all medical bills. These documents go a long way if and when you seek to have your medical care compensated after.
Don’t forget to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. You shouldn’t have to navigate life post-accident alone. The Peel Law Firm has helped countless people recover compensation for injuries suffered due to auto accidents.
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You have a right to fair compensation for medical costs, time taken off work and other losses related to injuries you suffered in an accident that was not your fault.
At the Peel Law Firm, it is our goal to help people injured in car accidents or other motor vehicle crashes, in the workplace, other people’s homes or due to medical malpractice obtain the financial damages they need to recover.
Our commitment to people who choose to retain our services: We represent clients in personal injury cases by maintaining high standards of integrity and professionalism while providing caring support and encouragement to each individual.
After a serious accident, people may have many questions, including:
- How will I pay my medical bills?
- Can I get compensation for lost wages?
- How do I get the help I need to recover?
- Why do I need a personal injury lawyer?
- What rights do I have when pursuing a workers’ compensation claim?
- How do I know if the insurance company’s settlement offer is right?