You slow down when approaching the light ahead, but the driver behind you fails to put on their brakes. You see in your rearview mirror that a crash is inevitable, and you brace yourself for impact. After your cars collide, you think through about what to do next, but you realize you aren’t sure of the answer. However, this blog can give you the information you need to get through the next few weeks.
Make Sure You Are Uninjured
The last thing you want to do is further aggravate a new injury. When car crashes occur, our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode: our adrenal glands pump adrenaline into our systems, our blood pressures spike, and our minds are more alert than usual. While adrenaline is a beneficial tool in avoiding an accident, it can be detrimental to the health of those who have already suffered a crash. Scientific research shows that adrenaline blocks out the pain receptors in the body. As a result, people who experience traumatic injuries due to car accidents may be unaware of internal damage. In fact, there are some stories where people sustain severe injuries, but feel as if though they are in perfect health. Therefore, as long as you are not in immediate danger, take a minute to let your adrenaline cool down before you get out of your car.
Make Sure the Other Party Is Uninjured
When you suffer a car crash, you and the other driver may be the only ones around. Therefore, it is crucial you check on the other person involved to ensure that they do not need immediate medical attention.
Do Not Talk About Fault
Regardless of who is at fault of the accident, saying “I’m sorry,” “I didn’t see you,” “I was distracted,” are all, in one way or another, an admission of guilt on your part. Regardless of the fact that you want to make the other party feel better by taking some of the blame, it is entirely unwise to do so. Although it is a kind gesture, this person can use one of these statements against you, especially if they never personally admit guilt. Stay vigilant and protect your claim.
Call the Police
You should always get local authorities involved in your accident. A police report is crucial to establishing liability for the crash, and establishing liability is essential in recovering money from insurance and personal injury claims. No matter how minor the accident, police involvement is a must.
Take Photos of the Scene as It Is
Although it is essential you and the other party move your cars out of the way of traffic (if they are in the way), you will want to take a few photos of the accident before you move the vehicles. Capturing the initial positions of the vehicles may be the key to showing a courtroom who was at fault for the crash. Therefore, you should take out your smartphone and get some quick pics, but don’t worry about close-ups until you are in a safe place.
Move Your Accident Out of the Way (If Possible)
Although your day is ruined thanks to the accident, keeping your car in the middle of traffic can make your day worse. While it may be perceptibly apparent that your car was in an accident, you should never trust other drivers to realize this. If you can clear your car, do so; but if you can’t, you should put on your hazards. Once you realize your car is dead and can’t be moved from a dangerous area (like a freeway), you should walk to a median or someplace out of harm’s way. Staying in your car can be more dangerous than walking to a safe location.
Information is vital in all accident reports, and having photos of all the related data can make insurance claims (and personal injury claims) less complicated.
Here is a list of information you should gather through photos and notes
- Names and contact information of all involved (drivers, passengers, eyewitnesses);
- Make, model, and year of cars involved;
- Driver’s license numbers of drivers;
- License plate numbers;
- Insurance companies and policy numbers;
- Accident scene location/address;
- Police officer’s badge number and name;
- Car damage caused by accident
- Personal injuries caused by accident (bruises and cuts should be captured as they could be an indication of internal damage)
Once everything is documented and the police report is made, you should get assessed by your primary care physician. As mentioned previously, someone who drives away from a car crash is not necessarily in “good condition.” Getting looked at by your doctor shows due diligence in taking care of your health and helps build your potential personal injury case. After the doctor, take your car to a trusted mechanic (if it is drivable) to have it assessed for damages. Make sure that both bills are charged to your insurance to ensure that you are not charged for the work. Your insurance is supposed to cover you, so let them pick up the tab. If the accident was the other parties fault, your insurance will get reimbursed. Your life shouldn’t have to slow down while you wait for your insurance company to settle the case.
Never Give Recorded Testimony to Your Insurance Company
This somewhat falls under the same category as not talking about fault. Although you may have no liability on your head, giving a recorded testimony is rarely beneficial for your case. Therefore, avoid this step of the process.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
If were injured by the negligence of another driver, securing a professional personal injury attorney is crucial to financial recovery. Because every accident is different, having a tried and tested firm on your side can be the difference between receiving compensation for your claim and walking away with nothing but chronic pain.
If you or a loved one were injured in a traffic accident, reach out to us for a free consultation concerning your case. Call (877) 661-9900 now!