Car accidents are always harrowing, stressful situations that can result in significant property damage and personal injury. While it’s natural to initially panic after a crash, the best thing to do is to gather your wits and spring into action. There are certain steps you must make sure to take after you have been in a car accident. They are crucial for ensuring your safety and securing your rights if you choose to file a personal injury claim.
Move Over to a Safe Spot
Immediately after a car accident, you should move your vehicle over to a safe spot. If the car is still operable, steer it to the side of the road so you are no longer in the road and a possible obstruction for an additional accident to occur. If your vehicle has been damaged badly and is immovable, you and your passengers, if you have any, should get out and move to the side of the road and out of additional danger.
Remain at the Scene
It is absolutely essential that you remain at the scene of the accident. You may feel nervous and even panicky immediately after a crash and want to flee. However, even if you know you are absolutely not at fault for the accident, if you leave, you can later find yourself being criminally charged with a hit and run. Stay put and wait for the proper authorities to arrive.
Try to see if you are injured. However, it’s important to know that you may not always immediately realize you have suffered injuries after a car accident. Nerves are racing and adrenaline runs high after such an event, so your symptoms may not begin to appear until many hours later. See if anyone else involved in the collision may be injured as well. If so, you need to get them medical assistance as soon as possible.
Call the Police
Immediately call 911 to request police officers come to the scene. With injuries and property damage that is significant, it’s the law for law enforcement to respond. A police officer will also make an accident report. Once that’s filed, you will be able to get a copy for your legal claim. Make sure to get the responding officer’s name and badge number.
Talk to the other drivers involved in the crash and get their names, contact information, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information. Be succinct and don’t say anything that could be used against you legally. Avoid even apologizing.
Talk to Witnesses
Find people who witnessed the accident and get their names and contact information. Ask them to speak about what they saw and record them with your cell phone.
Take as many pictures of the accident scene as you can manage. Anything relevant to the crash should be photographed as it can be used as evidence to strengthen your claim. In particular, you will want to focus a few shots on the road, damage to the vehicles involved, road signs, weather conditions and anything else you can think of that relates to the accident.
Keep a Detailed Journal
You may even want to keep a detailed journal that discusses the incident as you remember it. All of your documentation to support your legal claim should be included with this, such as photos, medical bills and bills for ongoing treatment you may need, letters from your employer if you can’t work or have to restrict your work while recovering from your injuries and more. Keep a timeline of your symptoms and any pain, both physical and emotional, that has impacted your daily life as a direct result of the car accident.
In addition, you should also keep any and all receipts you have that relate to your injuries and anything out-of-pocket that you need to be reimbursed. In addition, you may want to get an estimate for the repairs to your damaged vehicle from an auto mechanic and keep it in your journal. Your car accident lawyer can use all of this as vital evidence to back up your claim.
If you have been involved in a car accident and you have suffered injuries because of it, you need to hire a car accident lawyer. Contacting a lawyer is essential in ensuring that you have a chance at getting the best possible outcome in your case. Your attorney will protect your rights every step of the way. They know how to effectively use all the evidence you have to get you the compensation you deserve for your medical expenses, vehicle damage, lost wages and other damages.