What to Do After Youve Been in a Car Accident
Nobody expects to get into a car accident, but sometimes accidents happen and it’s important to be prepared. From rear-end fenders that go terribly wrong to head-on collisions that lead to injuries, car accidents change the lives of people who’ve lived through the experience. Keep reading so you know what to do if you’re ever in a motor vehicle accident. The knowledge you obtain today will aid you in making the best possible decisions in the future. Above all, remember to remain calm.
Check Passengers for Injuries
Unfortunately, the kinds of injuries you might face can leave you feeling pain for weeks on end. Whiplash is a painful injury that occurs after the neck jerks back abruptly in an awkward way. Many other injuries, such as broken bones and fractures, may not be immediately evident unless further examination is conducted. While you can only hope the accident isn’t too serious, check to see if anyone is experiencing intense pain, noticeable discomfort, or profound bleeding. Often, these occurrences can be signs of more serious injuries, such as internal bleeding or infection. Therefore, it’s best to get a safe distance from the car crash first to avoid getting struck by other vehicles. Here, you can further evaluate the passengers in the vehicle. Has anyone noticed limited mobility? Shooting pain? Once you’re settled and everyone is okay, you can proceed to the next step after following a car accident.
After a car crash, you’ll likely feel some anxiety, even if you haven’t suffered any injuries. Contacting the police and paramedics is a great way to quickly restore order to a chaotic scene. While some law enforcement agencies won’t respond to minor vehicle accident calls, you can always file a police report later at the police station just to make sure you have one. Some of the steps you’ll take later to deal with your auto insurance coverage are more complicated than stopping off for a car wash near your house, and you’ll need the details from a police report to support your future insurance claim.
The police report will consist of the details of the crash, statements made by both drivers, the passengers, and the witnesses, and possibly a drawn sketch of the car accident scene. Sometimes, officers responding to car accident scenes will also make a few notes regarding their judgments and assessments of the scene. These observations may, of course, turn out to be relevant later in court proceedings. So, you can rest assured that while both parties may want to point fingers, the police can at least control the scene and prevent any outbursts from getting out of hand.
Before, you stopped to assess your injuries. If you have any, you or your other passengers should definitely get them checked out by a paramedic. Not only will you need medical documentation later, but your safety is also the top priority and some injuries may be much worse than they actually appear. Be sure to answer questions honestly and be sure to provide any medical background information you believe might be relevant. If necessary, the paramedics may encourage you to follow up with a doctor or even come down to the emergency room for further evaluation. If that happens, it’s up to you to be observant enough to remember the name of the doctor assigned to you as well as the name of the hospital where you’re receiving treatment.
Safely Exchange Information
Before you start thinking about consulting a personal injury attorney, first, you should begin the process by exchanging information with the other driver. Stick to the most basic information, including your name, number, and auto insurance company. Avoid the mistake of providing overly confidential information that might later be used to intimidate you. However, if you have a lawyer who you trust is worth notifying, you can provide the other driver with your lawyer’s number in anticipation of a call.
A personal injury lawyer would want you to know that everything from the type of car tint you own to the speed you were driving will have some impact on determining who is at fault for the accident. But the most mature and responsible drivers know that pointing fingers after a car accident is a good way to cause confusion. While you’re blaming the accident on the driver, you might inadvertently mention details that aren’t true, drawing assumptions and arriving at conclusions that the other driver might see as a fault. The unfortunate truth is that it might take even more than the police report to find out who was responsible for the crash. For now, focus on standing up for yourself and getting all the facts, so you can be better prepared to defend yourself if the other driver later says you’re at fault.
Start an Insurance Claim
The auto insurance coverage process works best when you get compensated for the damage caused by an accident. Of course, no one wants to be in a situation where their insurance claim is rejected. To reduce the risk of that scenario, start an insurance claim that includes the make and model of the other vehicle, the street that the accident occurred on, the location and type of damage, and a copy of the police report as proof. You’ll see that by obtaining the most thorough documentation of the accident, you’ll have a greater ability to show your auto insurance provider that you’re being trustworthy and authentic. While your monthly premiums may not necessarily change overnight, building the habit of being transparent about unfortunate accidents can help you build credibility with your auto insurance company. This credibility later translates to less of a hassle getting reimbursed in the future.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
Determining who is at fault for a crash is a process that will take more time depending on the outcome of the accident. For example, if the other driver was using alcohol and you suffered an injury, or the other driver was speeding and you paid the consequences. For these kinds of long, drawn-out legal and insurance battles, the attorney you choose will depend on whether the car crash is being litigated in civil or criminal court. If you were at fault and the matter has turned criminal, a speeding lawyer will defend you on trial and try to paint a picture of you in a better light. They might refer to your spotless driving record or work that you do in the community in an effort to reduce your sentences. Of course, if the matter is simply resolved in civil court, where either you or the other driver are suing, your lawyer will be in a position to argue that you weren’t at fault. Either way, injury attorneys are there to represent your interests.
Given an attorney’s extensive legal experience and understanding of the law, you’re better off calling yours shortly after a car accident if you want to stay safe from legal trouble. Remember, personal injury lawyers, car accident lawyers, and speeding lawyers are often all similar regarding the kind of work they do. Their aim is to get you compensated for damages and losses you incurred as the result of someone else’s mistake. You’ll need your attorney on the case right away if you want to make sure you’re legally prepared to go forward.
It’s better to have your attorney on the case right away, as the office will need weeks or even months to gather evidence, go over supporting documentation, and address any witnesses pertinent to the case. This process might be daunting for many drivers who have never had to endure the aftermath of a car accident. After a car accident, the sooner you introduce your attorney to the details regarding your crash, the faster they’re able to respond and take various legal avenues aimed at helping you get what’s rightfully yours.
Recover From the Crash
Even minor car accidents can leave some of the most seasoned drivers feeling shaken. That’s because most people like to believe everything is okay until the accident, which leaves them reeling from a situation that you weren’t prepared for. Whether you suffered serious physical injuries or you experienced some trauma and anxiety as a result of the accident, you will need to determine how much time you need, if any, away from the road. Some drivers are able to bounce back and return to the road immediately simply because they have to. But other drivers may be slightly concerned that a worse encounter might happen, and adjust their driving to the point that they’re hyperactive. Fortunately, the separation you get from the accident will bring some of the most unfortunate memories related to the accident into perspective. Instead of feeling blank and directionless after an accident, you can use the time from the accident to regain the confidence to quickly go back on the road. More often than not, it’s serious car accidents that will have this kind of lingering effect.
Recovering from a car accident might take days, weeks, months, or years, depending on the scope of the injury. Broken bones and fractures have to heal and reset so the bone isn’t misaligned. If you suffer a bone injury, you should certainly follow the doctor’s advice regarding your eventual return to driving. Generally, the more serious your injuries, the more likely you need to add even more time to the recovery phase, the greater you’ll feel overall when your mind and body are back to functioning effectively.
Find Car Repair Services
From getting a new windshield installed to reinstalling the front or rear bumpers, car repair services are going to cost you just what you need to make sure your vehicle is back on the road again. Sometimes, the cost might be higher or lower than you hoped, but sticking with the same autobody shop you normally visit will ensure consistency with the kind of service you’ll expect. Once you stop off at an auto body shop, don’t forget to get an estimate of the amount you might have to pay if your insurance company doesn’t cover the entire cost.
Prior to taking your vehicle in for a repair, make sure you have accurate documentation of all the damage before you bring it to the shop. In the event that your car needed to get towed from the scene, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that no other damage could have affected the vehicle after the crash. Preserving the current integrity of the vehicle will save you from confusion later.
An auto body repair shop will use advanced technology to address any and all concerns related to the crash. Expect to be off the road for days or weeks as your auto body shop mechanics will be working on installing various types of automotive hose clamps or experimenting with car ceramic coating. There may need to be more services rendered to your vehicle than you might think as a result of the impact. Trying to handle this issue on your own is equivalent to driving a badly damaged vehicle. Instead, skip the DIY job and stick with the services of qualified auto body mechanics. That way, you’ll be in a position to get your car back on the road, so you might not have to take the last step. After a car crash, when you’ve called 911 and notified your insurance company, you might notice you’re fed up with your old vehicle.
Consider Buying a New Car
You likely put a lot of effort into getting your vehicle repaired, getting compensated by your auto insurance company, and filing a police report. Even after all of that, you might want to consider buying a new car altogether. For one, it’s possible that the accident was caused by your inability to operate the vehicle as effectively as you would have liked. This is the unfortunate result of having a vehicle that’s not as new or a car that doesn’t have all the advanced features that many of today’s models have. Better to purchase a new car if you have the funds to do so if it means reducing the chance of car accidents in the future.
After a car crash, you should know there’s no reason to panic. You can check to see if everyone is okay, then contact the authorities to put together a police report. If anyone’s injured, medical help is available. Of course, because you’ve been in a crash, you’ll want to contact your attorney, as you’ll need help getting compensated for damage to your vehicle. In the future, you can continue concentrating on driving carefully and following the laws. Hopefully, accidents won’t happen to you as frequently in the future.