The Three Most Important Steps You Can Take After a Crash
Knowing what to do after a car accident is important for several reasons, including that having a plan can help to keep you calm, and that doing certain things can improve your chances of recovering your full compensation amount during the claims process. After you have been in a crash, the three most important steps to take immediately are:
- Call the police;
- Get the information from the other side; and
- Seek medical care.
Below, these three actions are explored in more detail. If you have questions about what to do after a crash or how to maximize your settlement amount, you should contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible.
1. Call the Police
Once you move your vehicle to a safe location and check to make sure everyone within your car is okay, the first thing you’ll want to do is call the police. The police need to come to the accident scene and file a police report – this is critical. In the report, the police will gather the facts of the drivers and vehicles involved in the crash. In addition, police will describe the scene, take narratives from each driver, determine any violations of the vehicle code, and make a conclusion regarding who is at-fault for the crash. Finally, the report should state whether police will cite any driver for the collision.
The traffic collision report can be used as persuasive evidence to prove liability against the at-fault driver.
Information in a police report may include:
- Names, addresses phone numbers and driver’s license numbers of the drivers
- Insurance information including company name and policy number
- Vehicle information including, make, model, license plate number and vehicle identification numbers
- Location of the collision that includes street, city, and judicial district
- Primary collision factor
- Location of the vehicles property damage and description of severity
- Weather conditions, lighting, traffic control devices, cell phone in use, sobriety
All of this is valuable information from the officer will help out later on in the case, and can be used to prove fault when working with an insurance adjuster.
Keep in mind that even if you call 911 and request the police to come out to the crash scene, the police may not show up. In many police departments, officers will not go to an accident scene unless there is a person injured and the person needs to be taken by ambulance. Therefore, the severity of the injuries may determine whether officers will arrive.
2. Gather Information
The second big step is gathering essential information from all parties involved and witnesses Typically, the police will assist this step with a traffic collision report. However, if the police do not write a report, you need to get the information yourself.
Names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information are crucial to opening a claim for either property damage or personal injuries.
Everybody carries a cell phone nowadays, and taking photos is an essential step you can take to make gathering information easier. Take photos of the other driver’s license, insurance card, and license plate, in addition to the vehicles and accident scene.
You should gather the information from any witnesses at the scene as well. Independent witnesses are often instrumental in cases. Getting their name and phone number, as well as a brief description of the accident details, can influence the determination of who is at fault for the accident, especially if there is disputed liability. The will bring more value to your claim. Credible witnesses are ideal. Relatives or others interested in your claim are not the best witnesses.
3. Medical Attention
Finally, the third step is to seek a medical provider. If the accident was severe, you may need to be taken by ambulance to a local hospital’s emergency room. If do not feel pain at the scene but soon after the accident, you should visit your doctor, emergency room or an urgent care facility.
In nearly all cases, it is advised that you get checked out by a doctor even if you don’t feel injured. Some injuries can take hours or days to set in and may be dangerous if not treated. A concussion is the perfect example of an injury with few obvious symptoms at first.
Additionally, many times you don’t feel pain immediately after a crash thanks to adrenaline flowing in your body. Only after time and some rest may you actually start feeling pains to the body. If this happens to you, go to the doctor as needed. Those are the three essential steps you must take in the moments immediately following a car accident.
If you don’t go to the doctor, the insurance adjuster may doubt the authenticity of your injuries and may deny your claim as such.
Taking the three steps above are crucial to your wellbeing and claim after a crash. The next thing to do is reach out to The Beliz Law Firm for a free consultation. We will help you receive full compensation for your injuries.