If you are wondering what to do right after a car accident, there is a good chance that you or someone close to you has been in an accident.
Whether you are reading this on your phone or tablet directly after an accident and you are not even sure if you should get out of your car or not, or if it’s in the days and weeks after an accident, there are some basic things that may be helpful for you to know.
Immediately After the Impact
Immediately after a car accident, take a moment to assess whether you are hurt or not. Adrenaline can mask pain and very often, people who have been injured in an accident do not realize that they are injured. Before you try to move too much, give yourself a visual once-over to see if you are bleeding or showing other physical signs of injuries.
If you are in the slightest bit injured, call 911 as soon as you can.
If you do not think you are injured and it does not seem like the vehicle you are in is on fire or smoking or posing a threat to your safety, check to see if your passengers are okay. If anyone is showing signs of injury, including people who are not in your vehicle, call 911 immediately.
When you know that you and your passengers are not too injured to exit your vehicle, assess the situation that your car is now in. Exit your vehicle with caution and get to a place that is a safe distance from the collision and any traffic that may be going to the accident site.
Be Careful Who You Talk To
Whether it is immediately after an accident or in the days and weeks after an accident, be careful of who you talk to.
An impulse may be to discuss (or argue) with the other people involved in a collision. It is best that you do not say anything to them because if you find yourself in a dispute with their insurance or in a court case, what you say may be used against you.
As well, anything you say or show on social media and to people you socialize and work with can be used against you if the insurance companies or lawyers want to try to do this.
Document the Accident
When possible, it is a good idea to document an accident as soon as possible. If you can take photos of the accident scene and/or write down or make an audio recording of what you remember, this may be valuable to you to you in the days and weeks (and sometimes months or years) following an accident.
Unless the other driver or drivers are taken away in emergency vehicles, it is important to get their insurance information and to give them yours. It does not matter who caused the accident or whether you and the other driver disagree on this, not having each others insurance information can cause problems in the future. Many people find it helpful to contact their own insurance immediately following an accident. Depending on the severity of an accident, some people may prefer to pay for damages to another person’s vehicle out of pocket so that their insurance rates are not affected.
Not all accidents require the police to come to the scene. If they do, it is a good idea to be polite to them and to let them do their job without interference. It is usually in a person’s best interest to participate with police in the aftermath of car accident.
Contact an Attorney
Not all car accidents require the help of an attorney but many do. If you think you may need an attorney or are not sure if you do, you can contact Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for a free case evaluation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.