The first thing that most people do following a car crash is the last thing they should—panic. In order to avoid inevitable feelings of worry and fear, motorists need an action plan in case they are involved in a car accident. Fortunately, by following some important guidelines, the initial impulse to panic—in addition to a lot of other problems—can be circumvented after a car crash. Read on to learn more.
When to Report a Car Crash
First, drivers must remember that even the slightest fender-bender can be considered a car accident worth reporting. No matter how serious the collision, if one does not stop to survey the damage and talk with other drivers involved in the crash, it could result in a hit-and-run citation, which is a very serious offense. This means that even if you minutely scrape someone else’s car while backing out of a parking space, you are required by law to disclose your contact and insurance information to the owner of the vehicle.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
After an accident occurs, drivers will want to look for damage and injuries and notify the police. If injuries are discovered, then it is also important to contact 911 immediately.
Right when a car crash happens, adrenaline starts flowing in the body. This may significantly decrease your ability to feel pain. While the effects are only temporary—the adrenaline should wear off by the next day—this often results in injury victims not realizing the extent of their wounds until later. Because of this, you should always see a doctor after a crash. Make sure to visit a physician as soon as you possibly can, ideally right after leaving the scene of the accident.
Another common reaction to an auto accident is shock. Like an adrenaline rush, this reaction is completely normal but can prevent you from making sound decisions while it lasts. Before doing anything else, pause and take a few deeps breaths. Actually do this—deep breathing for even a few seconds can help you ease into the situation with a clearer mind and less stress.
Once you have relaxed and gotten your bearings, check on yourself and others involved in the accident before doing anything else. If you or anyone requires immediate medical attention, that should be seen to first. If no one requires emergency assistance, call the police to the scene.
While waiting for police and/or emergency crews to arrive, drivers should photograph as much of the accident scene as possible. Also, record all contact information, drivers’ license information, license plate numbers, and other pertinent data relating to the cars and people involved in the crash.
Finally, and very importantly, do not agree to sign any kind of affidavits or paperwork that release an accident participant from liability relating to the crash. Insurance claims can be tricky, and agents may try to tempt you with a quick settlement, but don’t fall for it. You are likely entitled to more compensation than they are willing to admit. Before agreeing to anything, review your losses so you have a good idea of how much your medical bills, car repairs, and other accident-related expenses are worth.
Those involved in a Taunton car accident may also want to get in touch with a legal professional, especially if they were injured in a crash that was the fault of another motorist. Indeed, auto accident victims may have the ability to seek financial restitution from the party deemed responsible. Especially in cases where a victim is required to pay costly medical bills relating to their injuries, a civil claim for damages could be the victim's best way to pay for that medical care and the other damages that normally arise in the aftermath of a serious accident.
To review, here are the things you should do after a car accident to protect your health as well as any potential insurance and/or personal injury claims:
- Pause and take a few deep breaths to get your bearings
- Check on others involved in the crash
- Call an ambulance to the scene if you or anyone else is seriously injured
- Contact the police and file an accident report
- Take photos and/or video of the crash scene
- Exchange contact and insurance information with others involved in the crash
- Seek medical attention ASAP—even if you aren’t in pain!
- Don’t talk to insurance companies or sign anything until you have reviewed your losses
- Contact an experienced and local car accident lawyer for further assistance
By doing as much of the above as possible, you can ensure your health and your personal injury claim are well taken care of. If you have medical records, photos of the crash site, and a police report to back up your claim, the insurance company will likely have no choice but to reward you with the full amount of compensation you deserve. If they refuse, our legal team is here to back you up.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a car accident? Do you need legal guidance or representation? Contact our Taunton car accident attorneys to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We are happy to answer all your questions and help you figure out what to do next!