What To Do After a Car Accident

Mar 21, 2019 by

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Contacting an auto injury attorney is not the first step you take following a car accident. Car accidents are confusing and upsetting, but there is a specific order in which you handle things following an accident whether you caused it or not. Depending on the severity of the accident, certain aspects of this to-do list might change slightly. However, some things are more important than others. 

Stay at the Scene

The scene of an accident is not one you want to leave. Leaving the scene could make it appear that you are involved in a hit and run, which is a crime. Even if the other driver leaves, you must stay put. Additionally, it’s important you stay present even during a minor accident to speak with the police. Filing an accident report is always a must. 

Call the Police 

The police should be your first call. You need to know where you are, which direction you’re going, and you should provide as much detail as you can to the emergency services operator who answers your call. He or she needs to know specifically where to find you. Never let the at-fault driver talk you out of calling the police or filing a police report. This can cause problems when you go to have your property fixed. It can cause bigger problems if you have injuries, and the other driver’s insurance company wants to fight your claims. 

Take Photos 

Photos are great evidence following an accident. If you can safely get pictures of the vehicles involved, get them from as many angles as you can. If you’re in an unsafe situation, take only the photos that are safe to take. Never put yourself in danger. If you decide down the road to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a car accident personal injury lawyer, these photos can provide invaluable information. 

Move Accident Vehicles 

Many roadways are equipped with signs along the median and/or shoulder asking drivers to move accident vehicles off the road. This is a requirement, but it’s not always possible. Severe accidents with injuries and accidents in which a vehicle is no longer drivable cannot be moved. If you can move it, try to get it off the road to prevent additional accidents from occurring. If you cannot move your car, remove yourself from the car and get out of harm’s way. If another driver fails to see your accident vehicle on the road, it might cause another accident, and this is especially dangerous at night, on a foggy day, or in the rain. 

Provide A Statement 

Try not to speak to anyone until the police arrive. It’s possible anything you say can be misconstrued by the other driver or a witness, and that statement might make you seem at least partially responsible for the accident. An auto injury lawyer can tell you that fault in a car accident is not always black and white. Car injury law firms know that more than one driver can be cited responsible for an accident, including drivers that didn’t cause the accident but eluded to responsibility. 

See A Doctor 

One of the most important things you should do following a car accident is to seek medical attention. Do not assume your lack of visible injury is a sign you are just fine. Even minor accidents have the ability to cause damage and injury to anyone involved, but you might not see those injuries right away. Concussions, internal injuries, and even whiplash are all common in an accident, and a doctor can diagnose these problems right away. 

Keep in mind that some injuries are easily treatable in the hours following an accident, but they might not be easily treatable when you leave them undiagnosed. In fact, some injuries can grow substantially worse over time, and they could take more medical care or even surgery to fix. This can be avoided in some situations. 

Keep Records of Everything 

From the photos you took at the scene of the accident to hospital bills to medical records, it’s imperative you keep all your records in one place. You might not feel as if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit with any car injury law firms right now, but you might change your mind. The statute of limitations in most states allows you ample time to contact an auto injury lawyer to file a suit for the simple reason that you never know how long it might take to diagnose medical issues and come up with a comprehensive treatment plan. 

Call An Attorney 

A car accident personal injury lawyer can help you. You are not required to hire car injury law firms to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver. You can hire an attorney to help you understand the legalities of your accident, to file papers, and to help you through the process if you’re injured and in need of time to heal. 

An attorney can help you understand what you are required to do versus what you are not required to do. For example, an insurance company might make it seem as if you need to sign a medical release form so they can work on your case, but you should never sign this form. This form allows the insurance company to legally access all of your medical records from birth, and many will use the information they find in your records to pinpoint your injuries on a prior incident. Insurance companies want to get away without paying you as much as they owe you, and this is one way they try to do that. 

Hiring an attorney to help you with your car accident questions is helpful, but your attorney should not be your first call. There is a proper protocol in place to help you when you’re involved in an accident, and each step helps you gain a little clarity and insight into what might happen when you’re unable to think clearly following this unexpected twist to your day. 

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