Over 38,000 people are fatally injured in car accidents every year and another 4.4 million are seriously injured. Regardless of how cautious of a driver you are, the odds of being in a collision are probable. Being injured in an automobile accident is a stressful and trying time.
If you have found yourself in this unfortunate situation, you need to be aware of what steps to take following the accident. Your action or inaction can affect your overall health, as well as your financial standing. Learn more here.
1. Call Emergency Services
The first thing that you should do after being in a motor vehicle accident, pedestrian accident, bicycle accident, or any sort of wreck involving a moving vehicle is to call emergency services. If you have been injured, anyone else involved could likely be injured as well and need emergency attention.
In addition, you have an obligation to inform the authorities about car accidents. The police will gather information and work to determine who is at fault, all of which will be documented in an official police report.
Choosing not to involve the authorities is risky because you lose a piece of evidence without their written report. This leaves you subject to a he-said, she-said situation. The other party may deny the accident ever occurred or may even try to blame you for the collision.
2. Check That Everyone Is Okay
After you’ve called emergency services, check and make sure that everyone involved is okay. You should only exit your vehicle to assist others if you are physically able and in a safe area to do so. Otherwise, you might be putting yourself at greater risk by standing around on a busy highway.
Although you want to make sure the other involved party is okay, it’s important to not move them. Doing so could aggravate any injuries they sustained, and they could pursue further legal action against you — regardless of your good intentions.
3. Do Not Admit Fault
You should never apologize for car accidents. Even saying you are sorry can be proof of guilt. You probably feel bad for the other people involved, but you must never admit guilt. People are listening to what you say and can use it against you.
In fact, it’s best not to communicate with anyone until the authorities have arrived. Although you will want to exchange contact and insurance information with the other people involved in the wreck, there should be as little interaction as possible.
When speaking to the police, it’s important to only share the facts. Do not embellish the event, and definitely do not admit fault. Even if you think you may be partially responsible, do not share that information and take full blame.
4. Don’t Be Confrontational
Yes, this is a stressful situation for everyone. However, you must remain calm and remember that no one wants to be in this situation. Being confrontational will only make matters worse. This is why it’s best to stay in your vehicle or away from the other involved party after car accidents. Interacting with the other person can create conflict and potentially hurt your case if you choose to pursue legal action.
5. Obtain Witnesses Contact Information
Sometimes third-party witnesses will be at the scene of the accident. If your injuries permit you to, talk to them and collect their contact information. Their account of the crash can be utilized as evidence when proving fault.
Many times these witnesses leave before the authorities arrive. While the police will take any witnesses’ accounts that they have access to, you may have a better opportunity to gather some yourself. Remember the contact information is important otherwise you don’t have proof.
6. Gather Additional Evidence
Law enforcement will take photos and gather available evidence. However, do not rely solely on them to collect what they feel is sufficient enough. You should also gather as much evidence as possible to ensure no stone is left unturned after car accidents.
Gather additional evidence by taking photos and videos of everything from your injuries to property damage to the roads and even street signs.
7. Notify Your Insurance Company
You are also obligated to notify your insurance company that you have been in an accident. However, it’s best not to provide any statements about the collision or your injuries until you have consulted with a personal injury attorney.
Insurance companies will often use your statements against you to deny your claims or reduce your compensation.
8. Get Medical Treatment Immediately
Even if you cannot identify any injuries, you should always seek immediate medical attention. Checking in with a doctor afterward allows you to document any issues that you are dealing with following an accident. This is not only good for your health but it’s good for a car accident case.
If you wait too long to visit the doctor after your wreck, you run the risk of worsening your injuries. You may even be accused of faking your injuries because it took too long for you to see the doctor.
9. Keep Organized Records
This goes hand in hand with seeking medical attention. You need to keep track of any car repairs, time off work, missed paychecks, medical costs, or other financial impacts that you have suffered as a result of the car accident.
When you have the appropriate records you can build a strong personal injury claim. In addition, you should write down, in great detail, what happened. A fresh account summarizing what happened will help keep your story consistent and allow you to remember key details.
This is especially helpful if you sustained head trauma from the accident, as trying to recount what happened may be more difficult with a brain injury, like a concussion.
10. Hire a Qualified Car Accident Attorney
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is the best option after being injured in a car accident. Different from the insurance companies, the right attorney will have your best interest in mind. They will also help you navigate the legal proceedings and increase your chances of recovering compensation from the responsible party.
Even if you feel that you do not need a lawyer, you should at least consult with one to get an idea of what your legal options are.
Recovering From Car Accidents
The most important thing for you to do after being injured in a car accident is to focus on your recovery. Are you looking for a qualified attorney or just looking for advice on what your next move should be? Contact Alpha Accident Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.Call for Your Free Consultation