Many people who are involved in car accidents have no idea what to do in the minutes and hours afterwards. The worst thing that you can do is nothing. Never walk away thinking you can just ignore the incident. Here are the three main steps to take immediately following a car accident.
Start Gathering Contact Information and Evidence
Start by gathering as much contact information and evidence as possible after the accident. Do this while you are waiting for the police to show up and do not leave the scene until they arrive. Get the information of the other driver and any passengers in the car. Look around for witnesses who saw what happened and get their information. You might even want to go into nearby stores to see if anyone witnessed what happened.
Use your cell phone or a digital camera to start taking pictures or video of everything. Detail all of the damage from various angles and distances. Get pictures of all vehicles involved. Take photos of the surrounding area and anything unusual that might have contributed to the accident. The people and arrangement of the scene are not likely to be there in a few hours. You want to record all of this evidence while you can.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
You next need to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. You might have to file one of the 284,600 civil cases that appear in the judicial system every year. An attorney will immediately start filing your case. The attorney will protect your rights against insurance companies, frivolous lawsuits and the actions of the opposing driver. Your lawyer can even help you by seeking out information about the accident or liable parties that you might never have found alone.
A personal injury attorney is your most valuable ally right after a car accident. The lawyer will attempt to negotiate a fast settlement for all of your damages. This might even include damages you will inevitably sustain in the future due to your injuries.
Get To a Doctor or Hospital
More than 2.3 million people are injured in car accidents annually. Not all of those injuries appear immediately after the crash. You need to get to a doctor or hospital right away. You want a full examination. Do this even if you do not think that you are injured. Return to the doctor later for follow-up examinations.
This is a critical step since you might have injuries that take days or longer to show up. If you do not go to a doctor or hospital after the accident, then insurance representatives or opposing lawyers could claim the crash did not injure you. See a doctor, get documentation of the visit and keep going back until you are certain there is nothing wrong.