Sustaining injuries in a car accident can be a frightening and stressful situation to endure. When panic sets in, it can be difficult to know the best way to handle the situation so that you are as protected as possible.
To help calm yourself down, the first thing you should do after a crash is take several long, deep breaths. If doing so causes you to experience pain as a result of the injuries you’ve sustained, breathe as normally as you can, and take a second to stop and tell yourself that everything will be okay.
Having as calm a demeanor as possible will help you get through the situation with as clear a mind as possible. Even though your emotions may be surging, it is best not to give into your feelings until you are away from the crash and in a safe place. Of course, this is easier said than done, so don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t hold back your emotions after an injury-sustaining accident.
Read on to learn more about what you should do after getting hurt in a car crash.
Stay Where You Are
This may seem like common sense, but it’s worth noting that you must stay at the scene of the accident until you are cleared to go. Leaving the scene of the crash prematurely can result in serious consequences that you will not want to face.
If Possible, Collect Evidence
If you are able enough to do so, try to take some photos of your visible physical injuries as well as any damages to your vehicle and others involved in the accident.
It can also be helpful to take photos of any skidmarks on the pavement left by vehicles in the accident as well as the road and weather conditions at the time of the crash.
Your injuries may be too severe to move around and take photos. If possible, ask someone you trust to come to the scene and take photos for you. Or you can return to the scene at a later date and take images of relevant elements that led to the crash.
Ask for Contact Information from Any Witnesses Present
If there were any people who witnessed your crash, it’s a good idea to ask them for their contact information, including their:
- Phone number
- Email address
Having testimony from an innocent bystander can help prove that you did not contribute to the accident and should not be held liable for the damages incurred in the crash.
Make Sure to Obtain a Police Report
Having a police report can be very valuable for your personal injury claim later because it can show that you were not responsible for the events that caused the accident to occur.
It’s a good idea to contact the authorities immediately after the crash so they can come to the scene and write up a report.
Be sure to ask the investigating officer(s) for the police report number once their investigation has concluded. You will not be able to retrieve the report without this number. Keep in mind that most police reports usually become available for viewing about 10 business days following the accident.
DO NOT Apologize
While apologizing after something bad happens (even if it is not your fault) can be a knee-jerk reaction, it is very important that you do not apologize after getting into a car accident.
Whether you are to blame for the crash or not, saying you are sorry is often seen by the insurance companies as an admission of fault.
Saying “sorry” can be used against you to withhold compensation that is rightfully yours. Avoid this circumstance altogether by resisting the urge to apologize.
Say As Little As Possible
It can be tempting to go into great detail about the crash with others at the scene, but doing so can be more harmful to your case than helpful. Saying the bare minimum can prevent you from saying anything that could inadvertently hurt your case.
Just like apologizing after a crash is not a good idea because it can be harmful to your case, there are other seemingly innocuous things you can say that might also significantly damage your claim.
For instance, avoid saying things like, “I just didn’t see them coming,” or “They came out of nowhere,” as phrases like these can be understood as you failing to pay the proper attention to the road, even if that is not truly the case.
Speak with an Attorney Before Contacting the Insurance Company
While the insurance company may seem friendly and helpful when you contact them after a car accident, it is important to keep in mind that these individuals are highly trained to gain your trust so that you will reveal pertinent details about the crash that may ultimately hurt your case.
It is best to speak with a skilled car accident attorney and obtain their assistance before contacting the insurance company. The reason for this is that insurance companies have many tricks they use to undervalue and outright deny viable claims. Even though this shouldn’t be the case, insurance companies operate to turn a profit, so they are run just like any other business.
Car accident attorneys know this and are well aware of the tactics insurance companies use to get out of paying viable claims. A skilled lawyer will be able to help you successfully navigate conversations with the insurance company so you don’t accidentally say something that can hurt your case.
You Have Three Ways to Provide Your Accident Statement to the Insurance Company
The insurance company will likely ask you to make your accident statement over the phone so they can record it. If you can, it is best to resist doing this.
You have three options for providing your statement to the insurance company:
- Over the phone (recorded)
- In writing
- Your attorney can do it for you or can be present while you provide it over the phone
It is best for your attorney to provide your statement for you or at least be present when you speak to the insurance company over the phone.
The second best option is to provide your statement in writing. Doing this can help you gather your thoughts ahead of time so that you don’t speak emotionally when providing your statement. Ask your attorney to review your written statement before submitting it to the insurance company so that you have the best chance of maximum compensation for your claim.
If You’ve Been Hurt in a Crash, We Can Help
Getting hurt in a car accident as a result of another’s negligence is an unfair and unacceptable experience to endure. If this has happened to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team at Scott J. Corwin, A Professional Law Corporation right away to learn more about the legal process and how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
We have helped many other people in similar situations, and want to do everything we possibly can to help serve justice on your behalf too. Don’t delay—reach out to our office immediately.
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.