The First 5 Things You Should Do After A Crash
Early estimates from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that 26,730 people were killed in car crashes in the first nine months of 2019 alone. With staggering numbers like these, we can be certain that thousands more were injured. The truth is that car accidents happen. Because we cannot control elements like hazards, weather and other motorists, any time you are traveling in a vehicle, there is potential for an accident to occur. What you do immediately following an accident is very important in protecting your rights during the claims filing process.
Let’s be honest, traffic accidents are scary and stressful. Literally jarring you from your focus on the road, car accidents sneak up on you and jolt you into a new mental state without warning. The most important thing you can do when a car accident occurs is to remain calm. As you begin to register what just happened, protect yourself by taking a few deep breaths and keeping a level head. From that moment on, your actions and words will be crucial as you file a claim with insurance and speak to a car accident attorney about any damages you may have suffered.
Rely on this list of the first five things you should do after a crash to guide and protect you through the stressful situation:
Stay at the scene
No matter what, do not leave the scene of a car accident. Not only do you risk missing an important opportunity to assess the damages, you are also risk a hit-and-run charge.
Check for injuries and damages
Before you exit your vehicle, check yourself for any injuries. Do not step out of the car if you feel dizzy, lightheaded or disoriented. Once you have determined that it is safe to get out, exit your car and check with the other drivers to identify any injuries they may have. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. If all are ok, you can begin checking the vehicle for obvious damage.
Call the police
You should never leave out this step. A police report provides an official record of the accident that will be important in filing an insurance claim and documenting anything you may need in a potential personal injury suit. As soon as possible, call the police so that they can respond to the scene right away.
Exchange information and record evidence
Once the authorities have been dispatched, you can get to the business of a car wreck. Exchange insurance information right away. If possible, take a picture of the other driver’s insurance card. Record their names and the names and contact information of any witnesses who may be present. If it is safe, you can gather documentation of the damage to your vehicle and yourself. Take pictures of anything that is dented, scratched or otherwise damaged as a result of the accident. The more documentation the better.
Be careful of what you say
Finally, the important step five should be exercised through the entire experience. For some people it is instinct to immediately apologize for a car accident. Do not do this. An apology or an admission of guilt immediately builds evidence that you are at fault. This determination is best left to the responding officer, lawyers and insurance adjusters. Additionally, keeping a level head and cool attitude is important. Hostile behavior doesn’t doesn’t make you look good on a police report.
When you are involved in a car accident, emotions can run high. Regain focus on the situation as quickly as possible and proceed with a calm attention to detail.
At John Price Law Firm, LLC, injured individuals receive compassionate counsel and strong advocacy in negotiations or at trial. To arrange a free initial consultation with one of our car accident attorneys, call us at (843) 552-6011 or fill out our form.