The average driver will be in an accident roughly once every 17 years.
For most of us, that means we’ll be faced with the stress-inducing fallout of a minor or major crash several times throughout our lives. And with the average car weighing over two tons, it’s no wonder many end up injured in an accident.
Navigating the aftermath of a crash can be frightening and stressful, but it’s important to keep a cool head and know what to do after a car accident. Here’s your step-by-step guide.
1. Call for Help
Whenever you’re in an accident, it’s important to call the police to make a record of the event. However, if you or the other party have been injured, you’ll also need to call for medical assistance. Your safety and health come before everything else, so don’t continue to the next steps unless you are able.
2. Gather Information
If your injury is minor enough to allow you to move without pain, you should begin gathering information about the accident.
No matter who you believe is at fault for the accident, do not admit fault or say anything that can be held against you.
You’ll need basic information in case you later decide to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy, or to file a personal injury claim. This includes the following:
- The other driver’s insurance information and driver’s license details
- Photos of both your car and theirs, including any damage
- Photos of the accident scene, including relevant details like traffic signs
- Contact information from any witnesses to the accident
- A copy of the police report, or details about how to find it once it’s been filed
- Personal notes on any additional details you can recall
Even if you’re unsure about the steps you will take, it’s best to gather enough details to at least file a claim and consult a personal injury lawyer.
3. See a Doctor
As soon as possible, visit a doctor about your accident injury. Even if you think the damage may be minor, or if you aren’t sure you’re injured at all, it’s important to make sure there are no unseen repercussions. You’ll also want to have the car accident injury documented by a medical professional if you want to file any kind of claim.
4. Reach Out to Your Insurance Company
You must report the accident to your insurance company within 24 hours of the event. With a car accident injury, it’s even more important to file a claim within this time frame.
5. Speak to a Car Accident Lawyer
In the days following the accident, you may want to reach out to a lawyer to file a personal injury claim, or you may want expert advice if the other driver’s insurance company presents a settlement offer. Make sure to choose an established option, as you’ll want an attorney with sufficient experience on the case.
You’ll also want to be sure to reach out to them before the statute of limitations for filing, which varies by state.
Get Help When You’re Injured in an Accident
Dealing with the aftermath of an accident can be stressful, but the fallout grows more complicated when you’ve been injured in an accident. However, don’t forget that you don’t have to do it alone. A good car accident lawyer can help you put your best foot forward after a crash, getting you back on the path to normalcy.
For more step-by-step guides to help you in law, health, and more, check out our other posts