What should you do if you are involved in a car accident? We’re going to talk about seven basic things that you need to do in order to keep yourself safe, get the medical attention you need, collect the information you need, and ultimately get legal help. Here’s what you need to know:
1. Remain Calm
First, you need to stay calm and get your bearings. Getting in an accident is going to cause a tremendous shock to your mind and body. Depending on the severity of the accident, all kinds of things can happen. The accident could range anywhere from a little tap on the rear bumper all the way up to a very severe accident where you are seriously injured, incapacitated, or even worse.
If you’re knocked unconscious or otherwise incapacitated, there’s not going to be anything you can do, you’re going to have to hope that there are other people around to help you.
If you’re still conscious and aware of what’s going on, then you need to take a moment, try to relax, breathe, and try to recover from the immediate shock of what just happened to you.
2. Identify Safety Hazards
Second, you need to identify any immediate safety hazards or threats. These kinds of problems can of course run the gamut, ranging from vehicles being in the middle of traffic, vehicles being on fire, people being pinned inside vehicles, all kinds of things.
You need to take action to get yourself safe from any immediate hazards and also take whatever action you can to help other people get to safety. This is a situation where your adrenaline is going to be running very hot and you just need to do the best you can to help yourself and others. Hopefully there will be other people around to help you out as well.
3. Call 911
Third, you need to get the help of emergency personnel, including police, fire, and paramedics, whichever of those are necessary given the circumstances. Don’t assume that someone else is calling 911. Unless you know for sure that someone else is taking care of that call, you need to get your phone and call 911 immediately. The sooner you can make that call, the sooner first responders can arrive at the scene and provide the amazing and heroic help that they always provide.
4. Get Medical Attention
Fourth, you need to get whatever medical attention you need. You also need to take whatever steps you can to make sure that other people who have been injured in the accident also get the medical attention that they need. Everybody needs to help each other out.
The severity of your injuries is going to determine what kind of medical help you need. If you have very minor injuries, you’ll probably be fine calling your primary care provider and getting checked out the same day, if possible. If you have much more severe injuries, you may need to be transported by ambulance from the scene to an emergency room or trauma center for advanced care.
The type of follow-up medical care you receive is going to depend on your injuries and the circumstances. The point is make sure you get all the medical care that you need for your injuries as soon as possible.
5. Collect Information
Fifth, If you’re able to do so, you need to collect some basic information about the other drivers and witnesses present at the scene. Check to make sure the police are going to prepare a traffic collision report. If there are any injuries involved in the accident, then the police definitely need to prepare a report. That report will include all the basic information that you need about the other drivers and hopefully any witnesses involved.
However, I wouldn’t rely on the police getting all the necessary information. You will need to do a little bit of work yourself in order to make sure you have all the necessary information. Some of the information that will be helpful includes things like the names of the other drivers, names of any witnesses, contact information for these people, including their address, phone number, email address, driver license number, and license plate number. For any of the drivers involved, try to get their insurance information, including the name of their insurance carrier and their policy number.
If you have your mobile phone with you, it can be very helpful to take some photographs. Take photos of the scene, the vehicles, the damage, and any injuries that you have. You can also take photos of the other drivers’ licenses, registration cards, and insurance cards.
6. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Sixth, call your insurance company and report the accident. Give their claims phone number a call and let them know what happened. Don’t provide any recorded statements about what happened, just report the incident and provide basic information about it. It’s a good idea to put your own insurance carrier on notice that an accident has occurred.
However, I would highly recommend that you not engage in any communications whatsoever with the insurance company or adjuster for any of the other parties involved in the accident. Don’t contact their insurance company and if their insurance company contacts you, don’t talk to them. If they want you to provide a statement, recorded or not, about what happened, do not agree to do so. The other drivers’ insurance adjusters are not trying to do you any favors, they will just use any statements you make against you later.
7. Call a Personal Injury Attorney
Seventh, call a personal injury attorney for a free consultation to discuss your accident. There are a lot of different ways to find personal injury attorneys. You can ask family and friends for a referral. Maybe you know an attorney who doesn’t practice personal injury, but they could refer you to another attorney. You can do a Google search. Whatever you need to do to find an attorney, go ahead and do it.
The attorney will talk to you about what happened, what injuries you have, what your concerns are, and help prepare a game plan for what needs to be done to protect your legal rights. The attorney will also help determine if you should pursue a personal injury case against any of the other drivers.
Once you’ve chosen your attorney, you can turn the process over to their team. You shouldn’t have to deal with the burden and hassle of pursuing your own personal injury case. Let your attorney handle the legal case for you so you can focus on getting the medical care you need, getting through this traumatic incident, and recovering from your injuries.