The first thing you should do after a car accident is determine whether anyone was hurt, either in your car or the other vehicle. If someone was injured, you should immediately call for medical assistance. If no one was hurt, you should contact law enforcement.
If it is safe to do so, do not move your vehicles until law enforcement has responded to the scene and advised you about what to do. The location and placement of the vehicles could help the police to determine the cause of the accident. The police who respond to the scene will also take your statement, the statements of the other drivers, and statements from passengers and other witnesses.
In addition to contacting medical help and/or law enforcement, there are also several other key things to do after a car accident, including:
- Get the name and contact information of the other drivers and of eyewitnesses to the accident. You should also get insurance information from the other drivers.
- Contact your insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver.
- Watch what you say. While you should answer direct questions asked by law enforcement, you should not volunteer any information that you don’t need to, and you should never comment on who is at fault for the crash. It is especially important to be careful if an insurance adjuster shows up at the accident scene, since you do not want to say anything to the insurance adjuster that could compromise your claim (this is true whether the adjuster is from your insurance company or the other driver’s).
- Contact a legal professional. You should have a car accident lawyer representing you right away in order to protect your rights. Your lawyer will take over negotiations for you with the insurance company to ensure you get a fair settlement and that any evidence you need from the accident is collected.
- Get medical assistance. You should always get checked out, even if you don’t believe anything is wrong. There are some injuries (like internal injuries or brain injuries) that might not be symptomatic immediately. Some of these injuries can be very serious. If you do not get help right away, then the insurer or other driver could argue that your medical problem was not related to the accident. When you do talk to the doctor, make sure to explain what happened during the accident and to point out any injuries you sustained.
Posted in: Car Accidents