Being involved in a car accident is almost always a difficult and traumatic experience, even if no injuries are sustained. Not knowing how to handle the aftermath of a car accident can make the experience even that much more traumatic.
Keep reading to learn what you should do if you’re involved in a car accident.
The Steps to Take
No matter how minor or severe the crash, the following steps need to be taken in order to handle the situation properly:
1 - Stay where you are
While it may seem like common sense not to drive away after getting into a wreck, not everyone is aware of this. If you leave the scene of an accident prematurely, you may open yourself up to the possibility of a felony hit and run offense.
2 - Defend the scene
It’s a good idea to set up flares and turn on your hazard lights to make other drivers aware of the situation. This can help prevent further accidents from occurring. Unless the vehicles are in the way of traffic, keep them where they are until the police arrive and take a report. Otherwise, if the cars are in the way of the flow of traffic, take pictures of the vehicles as they are and then move them out of harm’s way.
3 - Alert the authorities
Even when no severe injuries are sustained, it’s wise to call the police so they can come and take a report. If you need to file a claim with the insurance company, they will most likely ask for a police report.
4 - Provide a factual account of the events
When you speak with the police, be sure to tell the officer(s) exactly what you remember. Don’t speculate on any facts you don’t know. If you’re asked whether you’re injured but you don’t know, tell the officer that you don’t know rather than saying you’re not injured. You may not feel the pain of your injuries for hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. It’s a good idea to make sure that the other parties’ statements to the police are also accurate.
5 - Take photos
Use your phone to take pictures of the entire scene of the accident. Take photos of the damage to your car as well as the damage to the other vehicle(s). If you have any physical injuries that are visible, photograph them, too. If you’re unable to take photos at the scene of the accident for any reason, be sure to return to the scene and photograph it as soon as possible.
6 - Trade information
The investigating officer usually collects this information, but it’s not a bad idea for you to obtain it as well. Make sure you get the following information from the driver(s) and passenger(s) involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses present:
- Phone number
- Business card (if available)
In addition, you should take photos of the following pieces of information from the driver(s) involved in the accident:
- Front and back of their insurance card
- Vehicle registration
- Front and back of their driver’s license
It’s also very important that you get the police report number from the authorities so you can access it when it becomes available.
7 - Seek medical care
It’s common for accident victims not to feel the pain of injuries sustained until the shock of the accident has worn off. It can take hours, days, or in some cases, even weeks to finally feel the pain of your injuries. That’s why it’s so important to seek medical care immediately following an accident. Even minor collisions can have serious bodily consequences, so it’s in your best interest to seek medical care right away.
8 - Alert the insurance company
You’ll need to make a statement with the insurance company if you plan to file a claim for damages. Keep in mind that you can do this yourself over the phone (this is the insurance company’s preferred method), but you’re also able to make your statement in writing if you prefer. Additionally, you can have your attorney provide your statement to the insurance company for you to avoid saying anything that could hurt your claim later on.
9 - Keep everything organized
Keep all documentation related to your accident organized and in a safe place. The more organized you are with your claim, the more likely you’ll receive the outcome you prefer.
10 - Retain representation
One of the best things you can do for your claim is to consult an accomplished car accident attorney. A skilled attorney can help protect your rights and ensure valuable evidence isn’t compromised.
We’re Here to Help
If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. Our Orlando attorneys here at Maaswinkel Law, P.A. are highly skilled in the area of car accident personal injury law 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 wait—contact our office with your case right away.