Every year, roughly 3 million people are non-fatally injured in car accidents in the U.S.
In the event that you’re involved in an accident, it can feel disorienting and you might feel unclear about what you’re supposed to do.
After making sure everyone is safe, there’s a number of things you’ll want to do to protect your own interests should you have to take the case to court.
Let’s take a look at 5 steps you should take after a car accident.
1. Make Sure You’re Safe
It’s completely normal to feel shaken up after a crash. At this time, it’s important to try and calm down and stay focused.
You’ll want to turn on your hazard lights to make yourself more visible to other cars on the road. If it’s possible to move your vehicle to a safe place out of traffic, then do so. If you aren’t sure whether or not to move your car, just wait for the police to arrive.
If the car smells like gas, you should exit the vehicle immediately.
It’s important that you stay at the car crash scene. You could find yourself in legal trouble and have a hard time filing a claim if you leave the scene.
2. Call for Help and Get Medical Treatment
Next, you’ll want to call the police and tell them you’ve been in a car crash. They’ll take an accident report which your lawyer will use to determine whether or not you have a case.
You’ll want to ask for the name and badge number of the officer investigating the crash and the report number of your accident report.
While waiting for the cops to arrive, avoid making small talk with anyone. It’s natural after an accident to want to talk through what happened, but doing so can jeopardize your case.
Of course, if you’ve been injured in the accident you should seek medical care right away. Even if you don’t feel hurt, you should get checked out by a doctor after the accident.
3. Gather the Facts
You’ll want more than just the insurance information from the other parties involved.
Grab the names and contact info for any witnesses that saw what happened. Take a bunch of pictures of the scene, the damage to the vehicle, and any injuries. You’ll also want to document where exactly the accident took place and at what time.
After the accident, as soon as you can, write down everything you can remember. It’s easy to start quickly forgetting details as you get further away from the incident.
4. Contact Insurance Companies
Even if you weren’t at fault, you’ll want to let your insurance company know you were in a car accident.
If the at-fault party’s insurer doesn’t reach out to you within a few days, you’ll want to reach out and inform them of the accident.
5. Call a Car Accident Attorney
The next thing you’ll want to do is contact a car accident attorney. They’ll be able to provide you with the legal help you need so that you can be reimbursed for any damage or injuries. Without a car accident lawyer, you might not get the full amount of compensation that you’re entitled to.
The Right Steps After a Car Accident Can Make All the Difference
Knowing what to do after a car accident can ensure that you get the full settlement you deserve.
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