A car accident is often a traumatic event. The repercussions from a car accident can be long-lasting and affect both your health and your finances. A car accident could leave you with several long-term health issues, including permanent paralysis, brain damage, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain.
Consequences of an Accident
The average driver in the United States will be involved in three to four car accidents in their lifetime. While many accidents are minor and more of an inconvenience than anything else, there are still approximately two million people who suffer permanent injuries from car accidents every year.
With the real possibility that you could be involved in a serious accident at some point in your life, it is important to know what to do to protect yourself from long-term consequences.
Steps to Take After an Accident
When you are involved in a car accident there are multiple steps you should take to ensure that you are in the best position physically, financially, and legally. Following these steps will help you get your life back to normal as soon as possible after an accident.
Stop Your Vehicle
Immediately following an accident, you should stop your vehicle and then, if possible, pull your car off of the roadway ad shut off your engine.
Check for Injury
Once you have shut off your engine, you should begin an injury check. First, you should examine yourself to ensure that you are not noticeably injured. Then, check on any passengers who are in the vehicle with you. If everyone in your car seems okay, you should carefully exit your vehicle and make your way over to anyone else involved in the accident.
It is important to make deliberate movements following an accident. Even if you are not noticeably injured, there is still the possibility that you have been hurt, and if you aren’t careful, you could further aggravate your injury.
If you discover someone in need of medical attention, you need to call 911 and assist the injured person as directed by the 911 operator until help arrives.
Notify the Police
If nobody is noticeably injured, you will still need to call the police to report the accident. Even if the other driver does not want to involve the police, you should contact them. In cases of injury or if the accident caused enough damage, you are required by law to report the accident to the police.
While you wait for the police, you should begin gathering information from the scene. Exchange insurance information with any other involved parties. Speak to any witnesses and get their contact information. Collect information about any other vehicles involved in the accident. Examine the scene, looking for anything like a missing street sign. Make note of the weather. Take pictures of everything.
Seek Medical Attention
After paramedics have arrived on the scene, you should submit to an examination, whether you feel injured or not. Afterward, you should have a more thorough medical examination at a hospital. An untreated injury can get much worse. It also has the potential to put you in a tough position later if you are trying to make an injury claim. You want all injuries treated and documented as quickly as possible.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if the other party was clearly at fault and you are going to pursue compensation through their insurance, you need to contact your insurance to inform them of the accident.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
One of the most important things you can do after a car accident is to get legal advice from a car accident attorney. The costs of a car accident can be severe and last a lifetime. It is critical to make sure that you have a professional on your side. You need someone who can help to protect you and your future. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances; a qualified attorney is your best bet at a positive outcome.
A car accident lawyer can help prove you were not at fault when the fault is in question. They can also take over all negotiations with the insurance company to make sure you get the maximum settlement to which you are entitled.
Insurance companies are notorious for doing everything in their power to deny claims, and if they can not find any legal grounds to do so, they will attempt to undervalue your claim as much as possible.
Insurance adjusters have a long list of tricks they will use to try to stick you with the short end of the stick. You likely are not equipped to fight all of these tricks. However, an experienced car accident lawyer knows the moves the insurance company will make and knows how to fight them.
You don’t want to find yourself in a position where your claim was undervalued. It is terrible to discover you have run out of money from the accident settlement after two years when you are facing lifelong problems like chronic pain and disability.