Getting into an injury-sustaining car accident is a very frightening and frustrating experience to endure. After all, no one sets out to get into a crash.
If you are a driver, you should know the steps to take for properly handling a car accident before such a mishap occurs.
Read on to learn 10 important things you need to do after a collision.
#1 - Stay right where you are.
It may seem like common sense, but it is certainly worth stating. If you are involved in a crash, no matter how minor, never immediately drive away or you could face more serious consequences. An offense of this nature is called a hit-and-run and it does not look good to have one on your record.
#2 - Keep the scene as safe as you can.
If at all possible, it is best to try making other drivers aware of the crash by setting up flares or turning on your vehicle’s hazard lights.
If the vehicles involved in the crash are not in the way of traffic lanes, leave them where they are. However, if they are blocking traffic or causing congestion, snap a few quick photos of the vehicles as they are before moving them out of the way.
#3 - Contact law enforcement.
It is in your best interest to contact law enforcement so they can come and make a police report. You should do this even if no serious injuries are sustained.
Even if you simply need to file a claim for property damage, having a police report can make all the difference in the outcome of your case.
This is because law enforcement is a third-party that is not involved in the crash, so any statements they make in the report tend to hold more weight than statements made by those involved in the accident. The thought behind this is that the police have no vested interest in swaying the case one way or another, so they are more likely to make unbiased statements.
#4 - Provide the police with the most accurate information possible.
When providing your side of the story to law enforcement, be sure to state exactly what happened, as best as you can remember. If there are certain elements of the crash that you are unaware of, be sure to make that clear. Don’t try to speculate or make assumptions about any of the details of what happened.
If you are unsure whether you have sustained any injuries, make sure you are honest about that. Tell the officer you do not know if you are hurt rather than saying you are not. It may take hours or even days for your injuries to materialize after a crash, which means you may not feel hurt the same day of the accident.
Once the police have finished writing up their report, be sure to request a police report number from them. This will be important for obtaining access to the report when it is available to you (usually in about 10 days).
#5 - Trade information with the other driver(s) involved in the crash.
The investigating police officer should acquire this information, but it’s wise to double-check that they obtained the following information from any drivers and passengers involved in the crash as well as anyone who witnessed the collision:
- Phone number
- Home address
In addition, be sure to take a photo of the drivers’ licenses of any other drivers involved in the car accident.
#6 - Capture clear images of the crash.
Take photos of any visible damage to your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) involved. If you sustain any visible bodily injuries, be sure to take photos of them as well.
Do your best to make sure the pictures you take are as clear as they can be. It may be helpful to clean your camera’s lens before taking any photos so that they are as crisp and clear as possible.
#7 - Seek adequate medical care.
You may not realize you are hurt right after being involved in a car accident. Sometimes it can take hours, days, or even a week for accident victims to feel the pain of injuries sustained in a crash.
Unless you are sure, without a doubt, that you are not hurt after a crash, it is a good idea to seek medical care as soon as possible after a collision.
It is possible for accident victims to sustain serious injuries even when just a minor impact is involved. If you went unconscious or felt dazed for even just a little while after a crash, it is possible you may have sustained a concussion or closed head injury—both of which require immediate medical attention.
#8 - Contact a skilled car accident attorney to help with your case.
If you sustain injuries in a car accident as a result of someone else’s negligent actions, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Having a skilled car accident attorney on your side can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim and help you recover the maximum compensation.
#9 - Keep everything organized.
One of the best things you can do for your claim is to keep all of the related documentation neatly organized and in one place. Have the following information readily available for your reference at any time:
- Claim number
- Claim’s adjuster handling the claim
- All contacts’ names and phone numbers
- Rental car receipts
- Receipts for other costs associated with the crash
#10 - Report the accident with the help of an attorney.
It’s best to speak with a skilled car accident attorney about the collision before contacting the insurance company about the crash. However, contacting the insurance company is time-sensitive, so don’t wait to consult a lawyer.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Car Accident, We’re Here to Help
Sustaining injuries in a car accident through no fault of your own is not only a frustrating experience, but it can also be extremely painful. If this has happened to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team right away to learn more about how we can help.
Contact our office today by calling (310) 683-2300 or filling out the online contact form to discuss the details of your case and learn more about how we can help you.