8 Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident

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It’s understandable that after being involved in a car accident, you may feel disoriented and confused—but the decisions and actions you take after an accident are very crucial to help figure out the value of your injury claim. Instead of panicking, take a deep breath and focus on the next necessary steps to be done following a car accident. There are hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road, so the odds of getting into a collision in your lifetime is frantically high. With more car accidents killing citizens than any other calamity, it is best to be aware and knowledgeable of your legal actions and rights.

Before anything else, you need to remember this: if you get involved in a car accident, or if you collide with something, even if you think that there is no damage—always stop your car. This is your legal obligation.

Read on below to find out more about car accidents and what you should do if you get involved in one:

1.     Check for your own injuries and the well-being of other passengers.

The very first step to take is to check for your own injuries. If the accident has resulted in any injuries, seek medical attention at once. It's important that you don't panic.  You should try to stay calm and assess your own condition. Most people who are involved in accidents are not thinking straight after the accident occurs. Being in a state of shock will only make it worse. It will take time to calm down and get proper medical attention.

Before medical assistance comes along, do take the time to assess yourself first thoroughly before helping out the other victims in the accident. Check if you're feeling any pain in your jaw, or if you feel dizzy or disoriented. These symptoms could be signs of internal bleeding or brain damage. If you're in a serious condition, seek medical help as soon as possible. Otherwise, the effects of injuries during a car accident might turn out to be life-threatening.

2.     Check for other damages

After making sure that everyone—including yourself—is safe from any injuries or sharp objects, you may also check for other damages in your car. If you can, you may move your car to the side of the road or highway if it’s causing major traffic. But generally speaking, it’s best not to move anything until the police arrive.

Check for broken doors or windows. You never know when someone else may hit you may accidentally trip over a door or window. This can be extremely dangerous, especially if the door or window is completely open and clear. It's possible that no one was directly hurt at the onset of the accident itself. But they can get injured due to the damages on the car that were left to linger.

3.     Make sure you’re in a safe zone

If you smell leaking gas while you were checking other damage to your car, get out of the car immediately. Position yourself and your passengers at a safe distance from the car but don’t leave on the scene of the car crash just yet—leaving the scene might make it hard for you to file your claim and could even put you at risk. So, stay in a safe zone, and stay alert at the same time.

safe zone car accident zone

4.     Call the police

If you’re concerned about safety and you were involved in a car accident that was not your fault then you have several good reasons to call the police immediately after the accident.

Contact the police after you have moved yourself and any passengers to safety. The police will then file an accident report, which is essential for attorneys when analyzing a legal case. The report contains vital information about what happened, and documents both parties involved in the car crash. While waiting for the police to arrive, it is best to not talk about what happened with the other party entangled in the accident. Don’t talk about your opinions about what must have happened as it could be risky for your case. It’s better to talk less and just observe.

5.     Call for medical attention

While you may initially think that you and your passengers were not badly injured, still seek medical attention as there are some injuries that are not felt right away or physically obvious—some symptoms of internal injuries are only felt a few days after the accident.

6.     Collect Factual Information

As mentioned above, it is best to talk less and observe more. This includes collecting factual information about the accident. You should record the location of the car crash, the time of the accident, and the type, color, and model of both vehicles involved. You should also collect the necessary information about the other party such as their complete name, address, contact information, license number, plate number, and the insurance company. These facts may be useful for the police’s investigation later on and for your lawyers.

It’s important to write down the names and addresses of all of your companions, especially those who witnessed the accident. Write down the names and addresses of the officers at the scene, and of any witnesses, you may have. Once your case goes to trial, all this information can help you trace the right people who can possibly help you when you need witness statements and other pertinent details. Your car accident lawyer’s can use the collected evidence to show sufficient proof of everything that transpired at the scene of the accident, all for your benefit.

Other details, such as which directions you and the other car was traveling, both your driving conditions and recollections of what happened both before and after the car accident, names of the other passengers, and names of any witnesses will also be useful for further investigations later on.

7.     Gather or Document Photographs

Photographs of the accident are one of the most important pieces of evidence to gather. You should take pictures of the scene of the car accident to document the positions of the cars and the damage to your vehicles. It is also beneficial to document pictures of your cuts, bruises, and any other injuries.

8.     Seek Legal Advice

It’s better to call your insurance agent while you are still at the scene. They will assist you with further instructions to follow in order for you to process your claim. Avoid giving your own statement to the other party’s insurance company or even signing documents on your own as it can get you into trouble. It is best to wait for your attorney and your insurance company to arrive to help you with the case. They can also help you check several insurance options when you get into a car accident. No matter what happens, always seek advice first from the authorized and legal persons before doing any action.

Conclusion

Car accidents can happen to us anytime as even the most experienced driver can get tangled in an accident when met with a reckless one. The accident may disturb your sense of thinking and bewilder you, but it is best to stay calm and compose then follow the steps mentioned to protect you with your legal rights and avoid unnecessary worries for yourself.

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