5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Justin Sheldon—August 2, 2016
The moments immediately following a car collision can be difficult to endure. Most likely, you are dealing with the trauma and shock of what just happened, and you are completely unsure of what to do next. This is understandable because the next few months can be tough as you deal with insurance companies, possible legal matters, and anything that may have occurred as a result of the crash. You shouldn’t have to worry about these things while you’re already dealing with the physical, emotional, and financial hardships associated with the crash.
There are certain steps you can take immediately following the collision so you can protect your interests moving forward.
1. Contact 911
You may be injured. Someone else may be hurt. The crash may have occurred in the middle of the road and now you are stuck there with your vehicle a wreck. By calling 911, you are able to accomplish a number of things. First, you can get the help you need to get the cars out of the road and make sure all parties are safely out of harm’s way. Second, you are able to request an ambulance to the scene to tend to any of the injured parties. Finally, you, any passengers in your vehicle, the other vehicle’s passengers, and witnesses can give detailed statements to the police to be put in a report that you can use later.
2. Exchange Information
When someone tries to deny liability but doesn’t offer their contact information, it can be difficult. You want to exchange your contact information, driver’s licenses, and insurance policy information. You will also want to note the license plate number. Any information that you can gather to give to your insurance company, the better. You can also get the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the crash happen and can attest to who was at fault. All of these can help the insurance companies, and later, your lawyer if necessary.
3. Take Photos If You Can
We know that it may not always be possible, especially if you have sustained a serious injury, but if you can, take pictures of any injuries you may have incurred, the scene where the crash occurred, and the damage to both vehicles. These can all be provided to the insurance companies or used in a later trial if the case reaches it to that point. Pictures are some of the greatest forms of proof and they can help show who was at fault based on a number of factors.
4. Get Medical Treatment
Above all else, you want to make sure you keep your health as the top priority. This means taking the time to get the medical treatment you need for any injuries you may have sustained in the crash. You may not even realize it, but you may be injured, but the adrenaline may make it difficult to tell. If this is the case, you definitely want to see a medical professional to ensure that you are okay. This can also provide you with the medical records that prove an injury was sustained.
5. Call a Lawyer
You may think that you can go through this alone, but you will want to have help getting you through this difficult situation. Especially when the insurance companies are involved and the case may go to trial. Having a lawyer can help protect your rights and prepare you for each step so you know what to expect throughout the process.
After graduating, cum laude from the University of Richmond School of Law in 2011, Justin Sheldon began his legal career with a large national firm doing high-stakes business litigation. He soon moved on to a boutique firm specializing in auto products liability litigation throughout the United States.