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10 Things You Need to Do After a Car Accident

Close up of two collided cars with a worried woman's face visible in the side view mirror

If you’re involved in a car accident, you’ll likely feel pain, fear, and worry deciding what you should do next. However, you can reduce these unwanted feelings by knowing what to do ahead of time.

Read on to learn 10 steps to take following a collision.

10 Things To Do

#1: Remain On the Scene

It may seem like common sense not to drive away after a car accident, but not everyone is aware of this. A hit-and-run can result in a felony offense, so it’s best to stay put until you’re cleared to leave.

#2: Make Sure the Scene Is Safe

Check for any injuries. Set up flares if you have them and turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware of the incident.

#3: Call the Authorities

Even if no one is seriously hurt, it’s still a good idea to call the police to come and make a report. If you file a claim with the insurance company, even just for property damage, having a police report can be very beneficial to your claim. Be sure not to move the collided vehicles unless they interfere with the flow of traffic.

#4: Provide an Accurate Account of Events

Be sure to tell the investigating police officer the events of the collision exactly how they all happened. If you’re unaware of certain information, tell the police that you don’t know. It’s best not to speculate or make any assumptions about the incident.

If you’re asked whether you are injured and you’re unsure, tell that to the officer. Don’t tell the officer you are unharmed if there is any doubt in your mind at all. It’s common for injured victims not to feel the pain of injuries sustained for hours, days, or even weeks following a collision.

It’s also a good idea to make sure the other parties involved are making accurate statements to the police. Don’t hesitate to call out any misinformation.

Before the officers leave, be sure to obtain the police report number from them so that you can access the report when it becomes available (usually within 10 days of the accident).

#5: Take Photos

Use your smartphone to take images of the accident. Carefully photograph any visible damages to all vehicles involved. Take photos from as many angles as possible. If you have any visible injuries, take photos of them as well.

If, for some reason, you are unable to photograph the scene at the time of the accident, return and take pictures of the scene as soon as possible.

#6: Exchange Information

The investigating officer should get the needed information from all parties involved in the wreck, but it may be wise for you to collect this information as well. Be sure you obtain the following information from all drivers and passengers involved as well as any witnesses present:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number

Additionally, it’s in your best interest to take photos of the following information from any drivers involved:

  • Driver’s license (front and back)
  • Insurance card (front and back)
  • Vehicle registration

#7: Seek Medical Care

Following a crash, you may not know that you are injured right away. It can take some time for the pain of your injuries to develop once the shock of the accident has worn off.

Unless you are 100% sure that you are unharmed, it’s in your best interest to seek medical attention immediately following the crash. Even if the accident is minor, it’s still possible to sustain a serious and permanent injury to your spinal cord.

You may have a concussion or closed head injury if you lost consciousness or felt dazed for even just a short period of time. If untreated, this can cause serious cognitive and behavioral impairment.

#8: Provide Your Statement

In order to receive damages from the insurance company, you’ll need to provide an accident statement. Be sure to do this only after you’ve consulted your attorney about the wreck. Your attorney will be able to tell you how to position your statement so you don’t say anything that can harm your claim.

Keep in mind that you are not required to provide your statement to the insurance company over the phone. You have the option to provide it in writing if you so choose. You also have the right to ask your attorney to provide your statement for you. Don’t allow the insurance company to bully or pressure you into providing a recorded statement before you’re ready.

#9: Stay Organized

You’ll have the best chances of a successful claim by keeping all accident-related documents neatly organized and in one place. Be sure to keep a record of the dates you speak with the insurance company or an action is taken with respect to your claim.

Be sure to retain the names and phone numbers of all contacts as well as receipts for any expenses you incur as a result of the crash.

#10: Don’t Go It Alone

Consulting a skilled car accident attorney may be the most important step you take for your claim. Your attorney can help protect your rights and ensure that valuable evidence is preserved.

Be sure you speak with your attorney before providing your statement to the insurance company. Your lawyer will be able to help you understand the proper way to handle the claim so that you are fully compensated for your property damage and how to ensure you receive the best possible medical care.

We’re Here to Help

Dealing with the aftermath of a collision is no easy feat, which is why we’re here to help. Our attorneys here at Wallace Pierce Law are highly skilled in the handling of car accident personal injury cases and have helped many other people just like you obtain the compensation they deserved. Let us see if we can help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office right away with any questions you may have.

Call the skilled attorneys at Wallace Pierce Law today at (919) 887-7892 to discuss the details of your case.

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