With millions of vehicles on our roadways at any given time, it is important to understand that car accidents will happen. Hopefully you will never be involved in a car accident. However, if you are, they almost never occur at a time when it is convenient for you. Car accidents are inherently stressful. After a car accident, you can feel multiple stresses including dealing with the property damage to your vehicle, your personal injuries, the accumulation of medical debt, and even lost wages. However, there are ten things you can do following a car accident to minimize your stress following a car accident and help protect your personal injury case.
- Move Your Vehicle Out of the Roadway if You Can Do So Safely. Following a car accident it is important to realize your vehicle remains a danger to other vehicles on the roadway as well as yourself. Move your vehicle off the roadway to get it out of traffic and minimize your likelihood of a second impact.
- Check For Injuries. This includes injuries to yourself and anyone else involved in the car accident. Some injuries may be apparent but others may be less obvious. Slurred speech, confusion, or claims of not remembering the car accident may be signs of serious head injury.
- Call 911 and Report the Crash. If you are able, call law enforcement and report your accident. If there are any injuries, relay those as well so the appropriate medical dispatches can be made.
- Document Damage to the Vehicles Involved. Most cell phones have the ability to take photographs and record video. Use this to your advantage. Take photographs of the property damage of the vehicles involved. Use varying angles and distances so that you capture all damage.
- Document the Scene. Crash scenes change over time as evidence and evidence becomes lost forever. If you can do so safely, take photographs or video of the crash scene. Special attention should be paid to skid marks, debris fields, and property damage to the roadway or surrounding areas.
- Report the Crash to Your Car Insurance Company. Most car insurance policies require that you report an accident shortly after it occurs. While most car insurance policies do not specifically state a time, typically you should report your car accident within a few days of the crash, if you are able to do so.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention. If you have been injured as a result of a car accident, it is important you seek immediate medical care. Not only does seeking immediate medical care maximize your potential to get healthy, it also provides a strong link showing that the car accident caused your injury(ies).
- Do Not Give a Recorded Statement without Your Attorney Present. Your car accident attorney should be present for all recorded statements. If you have been asked to provide a recorded statement but have not yet hired a car accident attorney, advise the insurance company you are in the process of hiring an attorney and you will schedule your recorded statement after they have been hired.
- Do Not Sign Anything Without an Attorney Reviewing It. It has become a common practice by some insurance companies to offer car accident victims small checks in exchange for the car accident victim signing a release. These releases often try to release the at-fault driver or insured from any further damages. Signing these releases without attorney review may have negative affects on your ability to bring a claim later.
- Contact a Car Accident Attorney. If you have been injured in a car accident, you have rights including, potentially, the right to financial compensation. Remember, insurance companies are not your friends. They want to make their shareholders money. This means they want to pay you as little as possible. Insurance studies have shown that car accident victims with attorneys receive more, on average, than car accident victims without attorneys.
If you have been injured in a car accident, no one can completely eliminate your stress. However, these ten steps will help to minimize your stress so that you can focus on what matters most – getting your health back.