In 2020, there were 38,824 fatalities reported as a result of motor vehicle accidents. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation, these crashes resulted in an estimated economic cost of $340 billion per year.
If you were lucky enough to avoid death on the road, then there are a whole lot of physical and emotional costs for you to deal with. A car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience for everyone involved.
Whether you are the driver or a passenger, it’s important to know what steps to take immediately following an accident. In this article, we will provide you with a helpful guide on what you should do directly after a car accident.
Read on to get the lowdown.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do is check yourself and anyone else involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 immediately. It’s important to remember that some injuries may not be immediately apparent, such as internal bleeding or a concussion. It’s a good idea to keep a first aid kit in your car to address any minor injuries.
In the case of serious injuries, it’s crucial to not move the injured person unless absolutely necessary. Moving someone with a spinal injury, for example, could make the injury worse. If you are unsure about what to do, wait for the emergency services to arrive and follow their instructions.
Call the Police
Next, you should call the police. Even if the incident is minor, it’s important to have a police report filed. The police report will provide a detailed account of what happened, and it can be used as evidence if there are any legal disputes or insurance claims. Additionally, some insurance companies may require a police report in order to process a claim.
When speaking to the police, it’s important to be honest and accurate about what happened. Do not speculate or guess about anything. Stick to the facts as you know them, and avoid admitting fault.
Even if you believe you were at fault for the accident, it’s important to let the police determine fault based on the evidence they collect. Finally, make sure to get a copy of the police report for your own records.
Document the Accident Scene
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, there are a few additional steps you can take to document the accident scene. Take note of the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident. This information may be relevant to determining the cause of the accident. You should also make note of any traffic signals or signs in the area.
If there are any skid marks on the road or debris from the accident, take pictures of these as well. These details can help reconstruct the accident and provide a clearer picture of what happened.
Finally, if there were any surveillance cameras in the area, make note of their locations. These cameras may have captured footage of the accident, which can be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
Make sure to exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident. In addition to their name, contact information, insurance information, and license plate number, you should also obtain their driver’s license number and the make and model of their vehicle. It’s important to obtain as much information as possible, as this will make it easier to file a claim with your insurance company and potentially pursue legal action.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, try to get their contact information as well. Eyewitness testimony can be valuable in determining fault and providing additional details about the accident.
It’s also a good idea to take notes about what the witnesses saw and heard, as these details may be difficult to recall later on. Finally, if the police are on the scene, make sure to obtain the officer’s name and badge number, as well as a copy of the police report for your own records.
Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, contact your insurance company and provide them with all the information about the accident. This includes the police report, any pictures you took, and the contact information of the other driver and witnesses. Your insurance company will be able to guide you through the claims process and let you know what steps you need to take next.
Additionally, it’s important to note that your insurance company may have specific time limits for reporting accidents and filing claims. Make sure to review your insurance policy and understand these time limits so that you don’t miss any deadlines. If you fail to report the accident within the specified time frame, your insurance company may deny your claim.
It’s also a good idea to be honest and forthcoming with your insurance company. This means providing them with all the information they need, even if it doesn’t necessarily support your claim. If you try to hide information or provide false information, it could be considered insurance fraud and have serious legal consequences.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured in the accident, you may want to consider hiring a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. When hiring a car accident lawyer, make sure to choose someone who is experienced and has a good track record of success.
A car accident lawyer can also provide valuable support during a difficult and stressful time. They can help you understand your legal rights and options, as well as provide guidance on how to communicate with insurance companies and other parties involved in the accident.
When hiring a car accident lawyer, you should choose someone who you feel comfortable working with and who has experience in handling cases similar to yours. You may want to schedule an initial consultation with a few different lawyers to discuss your case and get a sense of their approach and communication style. Keep in mind that the cost of hiring a lawyer can vary widely, so be sure to ask about fees and billing practices upfront.
Once you’ve hired a lawyer, be sure to keep them informed about any new developments related to your case. They can help you gather and organize the necessary documentation. They can also negotiate with insurance companies and represent you in court if necessary.
Follow Up on Medical Attention
Following up on medical attention after a car accident is crucial not only for your physical health but also for your legal case. Any medical documentation you have can be used as evidence to support your injury claims. It may also help ensure that you receive fair compensation.
You may also need to see specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, or physical therapists depending on the nature and severity of your injuries. It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions and attend all scheduled appointments to give yourself the best chance of a full recovery.
Keep in mind that some injuries may not fully manifest until days or even weeks after the accident.
Types of Car Accidents to Be Aware Of
Car accidents can happen in a variety of ways, and each type of accident has its own unique set of risks and challenges. Being aware of these common types of car accidents can help you stay safe on the road. Plus, you will know what to do if you are involved in an accident.
Here are some different types of car accidents to be aware of:
Rear End Collisions
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents. They occur when one vehicle crashes into the back of another vehicle. These accidents often happen in heavy traffic or when a driver is distracted and fails to notice that the car in front of them has stopped.
If you are involved in a rear-end collision, it’s important to check for injuries and call the police. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s still a good idea to get a police report filed. Rear-end collisions can cause whiplash and other types of injuries, so it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash into each other. These accidents are often very serious and can cause severe injuries or even fatalities.
If you are involved in a head-on collision, you should seek medical attention immediately. These accidents can cause traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other life-threatening injuries. In addition, you should contact a car accident lawyer to help you navigate the legal and insurance issues that may arise.
Side-impact collisions, also known as T-bone accidents, occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. These accidents often occur at intersections or when a driver runs a red light or stop sign.
If you are involved in a side-impact collision, check for injuries and call the police. These accidents can cause serious injuries to the occupants of the impacted vehicle. It’s also important to document the accident scene by taking pictures and exchanging information with the other driver.
Single-vehicle accidents occur when a driver loses control of their vehicle and crashes into a fixed object, such as a tree, guardrail, or building. These accidents can happen for a variety of reasons, including speeding, distracted driving, or inclement weather.
If you are involved in a single-vehicle accident, check for injuries and call the police. In addition, it’s important to contact your insurance company to report the accident and file a claim.
Multi-vehicle accidents, also known as pile-ups, occur when three or more vehicles are involved in a collision. These accidents can be particularly dangerous, as they often involve multiple points of impact and can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
If you’re in a multi-vehicle accident, seek medical attention immediately. In addition, it’s important to document the accident scene by taking pictures and exchanging information with the other drivers involved. You should also contact a car accident lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal and insurance issues that can arise from a multi-vehicle accident.
By being aware of these common types of car accidents and knowing what to do if you are involved in one, you can help ensure your safety on the road and protect your legal rights in the event of an accident. Remember to always drive defensively, follow traffic laws, and stay focused on the road to minimize your risk of being involved in a car accident.
What About Pedestrian Accidents With Cars?
We mustn’t forget that car accidents can affect pedestrians too. If you’ve been in an incident with a car as a pedestrian you should seek out specialist help.
Hiring a pedestrian accident lawyer may be the best way to deal with such a situation. They will have specialist knowledge to help you in various ways concerning the accident.
How to Deal With PTSD After a Car Accident
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common condition experienced by individuals who have been through a traumatic event, such as a car accident. Symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping. If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD after a car accident, there are a few things you can consider.
If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it’s important to seek professional help from a mental health provider. A therapist or counselor can provide you with coping strategies and support to help manage your symptoms.
Also, taking care of your physical and mental health can also help manage symptoms of PTSD. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise or physical activity.
Furthermore, joining a support group can be a helpful way to connect with others who have experienced similar trauma. You can find support groups in your local community or online.
Plus, certain triggers can exacerbate symptoms of PTSD. Try to avoid situations or activities that may trigger memories of the car accident, such as driving or being around cars.
Car Accident Advice Explained
Being involved in a car accident can be a scary and overwhelming experience. However, by following these steps, you can ensure that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your rights.
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