What Should I Do If I’m In a Car Accident?
Though car accidents happen to many of us at some point in our lives, knowledge of what to do when involved in an accident is not as commonplace as you might expect. Even the most minor fender bender between two vehicles can be jarring and evoke a state of shock. Familiarizing yourself with a list of basic steps you should always follow after a car accident will make you better prepared to respond in a collision. Practicing what to do in a stressful event like a car accident will help you stay calm and will improve the outlook of your case.
If you have been the victim in a car accident, you need someone on your side who is compassionate and knowledgeable. You have many questions, and the Hayden Law Firm understands that. We know that you don’t deserve to suffer physically, psychologically, financially, or otherwise because of the irresponsible actions of another driver or an institution. You deserve reasonable and fair compensation that will make it possible for you to move on from this event and have a fulfilling life. We know you have a lot of questions and are here to help. Please contact us or call the Hayden Law Firm’s car accident attorneys at (314) 480-3100 for a no charge, no risk consulation. There are never any upfront costs; our firm only ever accepts payment if we recover damages in your case.
What To Do Immediately After an Accident
Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye. You might not even realize what has happened right away. Once your mind registered that you have been in an accident, it’s natural to panic or even go into shock. Following these steps after any vehicular accident will help you stay safe in the moments after the accident, and win your case later on. Wait until your vehicle comes to a complete stop, and proceed with the steps detailed below:
- Check for injuries. Immediately after the collision occurs, your top priority is to establish your well-being. Assess whether you have any injuries and, if you have passengers, whether your passengers are injured. If someone in your vehicle is hurt, they should try not to move while you wait for first responders.
- Get to safety. As soon as you affirm that you are physically okay, make sure you are in a safe area. If your vehicle is sitting in the middle of rushhour traffic on the highway it is both a hazard to yourself and other drivers. If it is still functioning, move it out of the way on the shoulder of the road. If it’s not possible or safe for you to move the vehicle, set your hazard lights on to alert other drivers of your stopped vehicle.
- Call 911. Regardless of your perceived severity of the crash, calling 911 is important for two reasons. First, of course, anyone who is injured needs immediate medical attention. Even if there are no readily apparent injuries, or you feel that your injuries are minor, it’s essential for an emergency medical responder to physically assess everyone involved. Second, calling 911 will bring the police to the scene of the accident and they will then generate an accident report on the event. The report will be important later on when it’s time for you to file a claim.
- Exchange information. If both parties are able, exchange names, contact information, and insurance information with the other driver or drivers who were involved in the accident. Be polite and check that the other party is okay, but do not talk about the accident. It will not be productive and statements you make could be interpreted as an admission of fault. Get as many forms of contact as possible, which typically could include a cell phone number, address, email address, and potentially a home phone or alternative phone number. You should also get their driver’s license number and vehicle description and license plate number. Ask to see their insurance information so you can copy it down or take a picture.
- Document the accident. Observe your surroundings at the site of the accident. Take pictures of your injuries and damage to your vehicle from as many different angles as you can. Also capture any significant conditions at the site, such as weather conditions, obstructions such as overgrown trees or altered or missing street signs, the road markings, and anything else that might have had an impact on the accident. In addition to taking pictures, talk to the police officer on the scene. Write down their name and badge number and ask them how to get a copy of the accident report. If there are any witnesses, try to obtain their contact information as well and ask them for their own account of what happened.
What To Do In The Days and Weeks Following an Accident
Your first priority should continue to be your health and safety, but once you and your vehicle have been safely removed from the scene of the accident, you can begin to take other steps that will help you in the claims process and in filing a suit if that is required. Even if your accident was weeks ago, these steps are still effective and important for your well-being.
Take an ongoing inventory of your physical condition. Irrespective of any apparent injuries at the time of the accident, you could be suffering from neck and spine problems, bruises and soreness, or other gradual or long-term conditions after the accident. If you did not receive emergency medical care immediately following the accident, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Even if you feel fine, you should have an examination to make sure the doctor does not detect an issue requiring treatment that you’re not aware of.
Next, contact your insurance company regarding the accident and talk to your agent about your coverage. On the otherhand, if the other driver’s insurance company contacts you during this time, know that you do not have to accept their first offer. In fact, do not accept or sign anything until you have more information and are confident about the value of your case. This is where the help of an experienced professional is so vital. Contact a St. Louis car accident lawyer who will answer your questions and hire somebody who will work on your behalf with your best interests at heart.
Car Accident Lawyer | The Hayden Law Firm
We know that car accidents can be scary and overwhelming. The compassionate team at the Hayden Law Firm feels strongly that you should not be denied complete and fair compensation for the suffering you’ve endured simply because the process can be confounding and burdensome. We are here for you every step of the way, to be your voice and guide you through your car accident case. Call us today at (314) 480-3100 to speak with us about your car accident. We never accept payment until we secure full compensation for you.