4 Essential Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Following a car accident, it can be challenging to get your bearing and figure out the necessary steps you need to take. Sure, the initial 911 call, identifying any damages on your car, and collecting insurance info are all givens — but there’s a laundry list of to-dos that unfortunately get forgotten in the hours or days following an accident.
For personal injury lawyers like us, we take these matters seriously and want victims of car accidents to know how to proceed after a car accident. Having a helpful step-by-step guide to remind yourself how to handle the days and weeks after an accident can be helpful — so we’ve created a simple list that should help keep your affairs in order.
What To Do RIGHT After a Car Accident
While it’s certainly easier said than done, immediately following a crash, there are important steps to take. Your head may be whirling, and your mind will surely be racing, but here are some quick tips to keep everyone safe and accountable after a car accident.
Just remember S.E.A.M. It’s a quick and easy acronym to remember what you should do if you’re involved in an accident.
You’ll want to make sure that you or any other passengers in your vehicle are safe and accounted for. Move your vehicle to the side of the road and out of direct traffic. If your vehicle is unable to be moved, keep your seatbelt on and turn on hazards until help arrives. Removing your seatbelt is often the first mistake, and slippery roads or inattentive drivers may cause further crashes to occur — so keep your safety precautions on.
Dial 911 and wait for police and emergency services to arrive to the scene. They will handle road flares or signals to prevent through-traffic from creating further damage. During an accident on a public road or highway, always notify police so that you can gather a police report that can later be used if needed.
The next step is to exchange your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information with the others involved. There’s no need to discuss or review the details of the accident — as you may end up making statements that unintentionally incriminate yourself.
This can be one of the most difficult steps, especially for those who have never been in an accident. There’s no need to discuss who is at fault with the other party. Speculation will fly, and fingers will be pointed, but do your best to stay out of the conversation and simply exchange information. Law enforcement will make an objective assessment as to the causes or contributing factors of the accident.
Account for Everything
Most of us are fortunate enough to have a smartphone on us at all times. These are a perfect way to capture the damage and make a note of anything that may have caused the accident. Car accidents can be a jarring experience, and our memory can be easily led astray in the hours after a crash. It’s important to write down everything you can remember about the road conditions and weather conditions, if their lights were on, or any other details that may have contributed to the accident.
Use your camera to snap photos of damages to both your car and theirs. If there are witnesses around, gather their information as they can be a saving grace down the road.
Make a Doctor’s Appointment
If it’s a minor fender bender and there are no injuries whatsoever, you may just exchange information. However, if there are any injuries, even minor soreness — schedule a doctor’s appointment immediately. In the event of serious injuries, you will likely be transported via ambulance to an emergency room.
There could be underlying issues or medical problems that grow increasingly worse over the coming weeks or months, and you’ll want not only to be healthy — but have proper documentation. Many neck and back injuries don’t present themselves right away, so in the days following an accident, keep an eye on how your body is feeling and make an appointment right away if you notice any issues.
If the other party is at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain, suffering, or lost wages due to the accident. However, timely medical evaluation is a necessity in order to get the compensation you deserve.
Over the Next Few Days
The days following a car accident can be frustrating. Your car may be in bad shape or even worse, your health. If there are any injury concerns, you must contact a trusted personal injury attorney. They’ll help evaluate your situation and potential legal case at absolutely no risk to you. If you decide to hire their services, they’ll investigate your case and manage all of the complexities associated with a personal injury lawsuit — along with handling the insurance company communications.
Injuries associated with a car accident can be incredibly stressful and even traumatizing. Having an experienced legal team by your side can give you peace of mind going forward. As we said previously, a prompt medical evaluation is critical during this step. Your symptoms may ebb and flow, but your physician needs to be informed about any changes to your health status. Pain, dizziness, fatigue, numbness, or any other signs of health problems are all important factors in a personal injury lawsuit. So, keep a close eye on your health over the coming days and weeks.
We’re Here to Help
At Cline Jensen, PLLC., we’ve worked with hundreds of clients who have experienced car accidents and needed our help to seek compensation. We understand how difficult the process can be, and we take every opportunity to advocate for our clients and handle injury victims with respect and care.
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident and require legal assistance, we can help. We’ll be by your side every step of the way to ensure that your case is a priority.