Being involved in a car accident is a very traumatic experience, and it will be very difficult for you to think and act clearly, and quickly. There are a number of things going on around you, and that is why it is very important to have a check list of things to go through to help you cope.
At GC Law we deal with a number of car accident victims on a daily basis, and to help you cope with this trauma we have put together our top 5 things to do, and the top 5 things not to do, after a car accident.
Keep a strong durable card with a pen attached in your glove box to write on, the last thing you want to be doing is trying to find a piece of paper to write on, remember your stress levels will be very high, so having a checklist to refer to, will help you think straight and get the information you need.
We have created a PDF file of the Top 5 things you need to do after a car accident, so that you can print it and keep it in your car.
1. Take Photographs
Most mobile phones these days are equipped with cameras so this should be easy. You should take pictures of the damage to your car and any other cars, and the positions of the cars on the road. Photograph any skid marks and try to capture the overall scene of the accident. Photographs can become important later if there is a disagreement about how to accident happened.
2. Call the Police
If someone is injured in the accident it must be reported to the police, so call them. Stay at the scene until the police arrive and provide them with a description of what happened. Be prepared to wait. The police often don’t arrive as quickly as you see on the television.
3. Track Down Any Witnesses
If someone saw the car accident you should get their name and number just in case you need it. Encourage the witness to wait at the scene to talk to police. It’s always good to have a witness who can support your version of how the accident happened in case there is a disagreement about it later on.
4. See a Doctor
Even if an ambulance attended the scene of the accident, it is still important to see a doctor as soon as you can. Get your neck, back, shoulders and general health checked out. As minor as an injury may seem at the time, many types of injuries, like whiplash, can quickly get worse over a couple of days. When reporting injuries to a doctor it is very important to be consistent with your description of your injuries and your symptoms and how the accident happened.
5. Get Legal Advice
A lawyer can help you lodge an insurance claim and get proper treatment plans in place to help you recover from your injuries. Often the costs of this treatment will be paid for by the insurance company. A lawyer can also help you recover compensation for your pain and suffering, out of pocket expenses and loss of income. But strict time limits do apply so you should see a lawyer as soon as you can.
Here are 5 Things not to do after a car accident
1. Don’t leave the scene
Let’s say you’re involved in an accident, but it’s not a bad one. You’ve collided with another car but the damage is minor. No one appears to be injured at first glance. So you’re cool to drive away, right? Actually, you’re not. Regardless of whether a wreck looks serious, you always have to stop, check on the other person involved, exchange insurance information and if necessary report it to the police.
2. Don’t forget to Call the Police
If someone is injured in a car accident it needs to be reported to the police. And wait at the scene until the Police arrive.
3. Don’t lose your temper
A lot of things will be going through your mind at this point, but it very important to stay cool, even if the other driver is at fault. You’ll gain nothing by losing your temper; we are all human and sometimes make mistakes, so stay cool and in control.
4. Don’t forget to collect the right information
Try to clear your head and figure out exactly what happened. What were you doing just before the crash? What street were you on, and in what direction were you headed? When did the other driver enter into the picture? You’ll need to have a consistent and accurate account of the wreck to give to police and insurance providers. You may even find yourself telling this story several times.
5. Don’t neglect to follow up after the accident.
While the accident was traumatic and difficult enough, the hardest part often comes after. That’s why it’s important to follow up on everything that needs to be taken care of. This can sometimes include getting legal and medical advice.
First of all, were you injured in the wreck? Have you had pain or persistent health problems since it happened? If so, you need to see a doctor right away. You may also want to get in touch with a lawyer if you think you’re facing big medical bills. And if another driver is threatening legal action against you, you’ll probably need to get a lawyer of your own.
Make sure you register your insurance claim quickly. Many insurance companies have time limits on when a claim can be filed, so get on it right away. It’s best to know what your own insurance covers ahead of time — you don’t want to find out you’ll be paying for a rental car out of pocket. It helps to know whether your state laws assign “fault” to one of the involved drivers. Also, remember you have the right to send your car to any repair shop of your choosing.
Remember, at GC law we specialise in helping car accident victims and will fight the insurance companies to make sure you get the compensation you may be entitled too.
For quick advice, we offer a free case review within 12 hours!
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Make sure you download a copy of this article to keep in your car, you can download it here – Five tips on what to do after you’ve been injured in a car accident