What to Do After a Car Accident: The Complete Guide

About six million car accidents occur in the US every year. About 6% of crashes result in fatalities. Another 27% cause non-fatal injuries, while 72% cause property damages.

It’s important to know what to do after a car accident before you’re in a crash. Otherwise, you could struggle to fight for compensation. You might have to pay for your losses out of pocket.

If you need time to heal from your injuries, you might find yourself out of work for some time. Medical bills, car repairs, and other expenses might start stacking up. Before that can happen, read this guide.

You can prepare yourself before your first car accident to ensure you don’t make costly mistakes down the road. Discover how to respond after auto accidents with these helpful tips today!

1. Assess Your Injuries

The seconds after a car crash can feel disorienting, stressful, and even scary. Try to take a deep breath. Calm yourself down as much as possible before you start moving.

Otherwise, sudden movements could do more harm than good.

Instead, try to remember what to do after a car accident. First, assess your injuries. If you were seriously injured, call 911 for an ambulance right away.

Assess your own injuries first before turning to anyone else in the vehicle. Then, determine if they’re okay. If they require medical attention, call 911.

The 911 operator can provide you with helpful advice. They’ll ensure you provide first aid before first responders arrive.

If you experience neck or back pain, don’t move. Wait for paramedics to arrive on the scene. 

Otherwise, take stock of your personal injuries for your own notes. You’ll need to let police officers know about the injuries you sustained when they arrive. 

2. Move to a Safe Space

Remember to take a deep breath. Try to calm yourself down. 

Then, determine if your vehicle is safe to move. If you’re not sure, wait until the police arrive on the scene. They’ll let you know how to proceed.

If your tires sustained damage or the vehicle is leaking fluids, don’t try to operate the vehicle. Instead, get out of the car as soon as possible. Move to a safe area.

Otherwise, make sure to move your car away from oncoming traffic as soon as possible. Move completely off the road. Try to remain near the scene of the crash, though.

Failing to move right away could cause another accident. You could get hit by approaching vehicles.

If you have reflective emergency triangles in your car, set them up to warn nearby drivers. 

Make sure the other driver remains nearby as well. 

3. Call the Police

Once you’re in a safe place, make sure to call the police for car accident help right away. Some state laws indicate you’re required to file a police report. If you’re unsure about your own state’s requirements, call anyway.

Filing an official police report will cover your bases and help you avoid any legal consequences. 

Calling the police can help strengthen your case if you decide to file a car accident claim, too. 

When you speak with the police, make sure to stick with the facts. Don’t embellish or try to blame the other driver. Instead, give them your recollection of what happened.

Before the officer leaves, ask for their card. Make sure to get their name and badge number. Your car accident attorney might want to contact them in the future.

Ask the officer if they can provide a copy of their police report, too. You might need them to email you a copy later. 

4. Exchange Information

When considering what to do after a car accident, try to focus on the future. For example, you’ll likely need to contact your insurance company. Make sure you have the other driver’s information before leaving the scene of the crash. 

For example, you’ll need the driver’s:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Insurance information
  • Car make, model, and year

Try to limit your interaction with the other driver as much as possible. Don’t admit guilt or try to blame the other driver. 

5. Gather Evidence

While you’re still at the scene of your first car accident, try to gather as much evidence as possible. For example, you can take photos of both vehicles. You’ll need pictures for your insurance claim and lawsuit.

Otherwise, write down your recollection of what happened. You might forget certain details in the days after the crash. Writing down notes will ensure you don’t mistake any details. 

6. Consult a Doctor

Make sure to visit a doctor immediately after any auto accidents. Only a physician can assess your personal injuries. Their report can strengthen your car accident claim, too. 

Unintentional injuries account for 24.8 million physician office and 97.9 million emergency department visits each year. You might not realize the extent of your injuries after the crash, though. Adrenaline could mask your pain.

Keep track of the doctors you visit. Note any treatments, medications, or procedures they recommend, too. 

7. Contact Your Insurance Company

After auto accidents, make sure to contact your insurance company right away. They’ll let you know how to proceed with your claim.

8. Call a Lawyer

Don’t wait to contact a personal injury lawyer. Look for someone who specializes in car accident help. Their experience and expertise can strengthen your personal injury claim. 

With their help, you can fight for compensation to cover any medical bills, property damage, or other losses. You can reach the best personal injury attorney here to get started.

9. Keep a File

As you work through what to do after a car accident, make sure to keep a file of any relevant documents. For example, you’ll want to keep track of your medical bills and lost wages. Keep the police report and any other documents on file, too.

What to Do After a Car Accident: 9 Essential Steps Toward Compensation

Knowing what to do after a car accident could protect your future. You can fight for compensation to cover property damages or other expenses. Try to remember these nine steps.

Otherwise, consult your lawyer to determine how to best proceed.

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