When you have just been in a crash and are wondering what to do right after a car accident, one thing many people would like to do but can’t is to go back in time. Short of being able to go back in time and being able to avoid the accident all together, there are some basic things that someone who has been in a car accident should do. The following synopsis is not exhaustive of all the things that need to be done nor is it intended as legal advice in any way.
After you feel the initial impact of your car being hit by another car or the impact of hitting another car or something else, wait until your vehicle has stopped moving and assess whether or not you are injured.
Sometimes people get a rush of adrenaline when they have been injured which temporarily masks the pain of their injuries. It is a good idea to give yourself visual once over before trying to move in case you have broken bones or deep wounds that should not be moved.
If you are injured or if you can see that anyone else at the accident scene is injured, call 911 immediately.
When possible, it is best not to move people who are injured in an accident because this can aggravate their injuries. Paramedics and other accident responders are trained to move injured people without causing further damage.
Get Out of Harm’s Way
Regardless of whether anyone is injured, if the vehicle you are in or any near you are on fire or smoking, or if there is fire anywhere near you, exit your vehicle as quickly and safely as you can. Remember to look out for oncoming traffic and get yourself to a safe distance from the accident scene and where you are also safe from any traffic going through or around the accident scene.
Call the Authorities
Depending on the severity of your accident and how much damage has been made to (any of) the vehicles, you may or may not need to call the police to file an accident report.
Many people find it helpful to call their own auto insurance company after an accident to find out how to best deal with the situation. Some people prefer to pay for any damages they are responsible for out of their own pocket so that their insurance company does not know about it and potentially raise their rates.
Exchange Insurance Information
Exchange insurance information with the other drivers that were involved in the accident. If a person tells you they want to pay for damages out of pocket without telling their insurance, you may find this reasonable but you should still get their insurance information in case they change their mind or their story, etc.
Even though it may be tempting to discuss your accident with other people involved in the accident, be careful of what you say because they and their insurance might try to use it against you. You should never post information about an accident on social media because the other side’s insurance or lawyer may find this information and use it against you.
Call a Lawyer
Many people find it helpful to discuss the details of their car accident with a lawyer and to find out what their rights are given their particular circumstances. The compassionate team at Cohen & Cohen is available to give you a free case evaluation any time of the day or night, any time of the year.