There are approximately 6 million car crashes every year within the United States. Unfortunately, many of these also result in injury.
Whether you were injured in an auto accident or not, though, there’s a handful of steps you’ll need to take immediately after a crash.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about what you need to do immediately after a car crash.
1. Get to Safety and Call 911
If you’re able to get safely on the side of the road, this is the first step you should take after a collision. It’s not impossible, though, for this to be a dangerous option— accidents that occur in the middle of busy roads can put drivers in danger if they exit the vehicle before traffic has stopped.
Those who are unable to relocate to the side of the road safely should remain in their vehicle. If you smell gasoline, notice smoke, etc., however, then you should do your best to exit your car and find safety in another location.
Regardless of where you end up, immediately call 911 and report the accident. Be as detailed as you can with your location (“in the lefthand turn lane going southbound on N 56th street,” for example).
2. Exchange Insurance Information
It’s crucial to exchange insurance information with the other driver to ensure that the damages are taken care of appropriately. Otherwise, you run the risk of complications arising down the road when it comes to deciding who’s responsible.
No matter what, though, never admit fault at the scene to the other driver. In general, it’s best to keep conversation to a minimum to avoid having anything you say being used against you later.
This is especially true if the other individual is recording the incident on their phone.
3. File a Police Report
When the police arrive at the scene, make sure that you convey to them that you need a copy of the report that’s filed. Make a note of the officer’s name, the report number, and any special instructions they give you when it comes to retrieving the information.
Having access to the officer’s assessment of the incident will help you leverage your case if you choose to pursue the other party for compensation.
If you choose not to file a police report a the scene, you have ten days from the date of the accident in the state of Florida to file one.
It’s required by law to report most car accidents. The criteria are as follows:
- If there’s more than $500 of total damage
- If there are any injuries at all
- If either vehicle required towing from the scene
Additionally, you’ll also need to report the incident if anyone involved was under the influence of alcohol or driving a commercial car.
4. Photograph The Scene
This is one of the most crucial steps in the process. To accurately convey the severity of the accident, you’ll need photographic proof.
Take photos of all visible damage, including on the other party’s vehicle. If you have visible injuries, make sure you photograph those, too.
After getting a handful of photos, do a video walkthrough of the scene, if possible. This will allow you to present a more accurate perspective of the incident, and you may find evidence that you initially missed.
5. Speak to Witnesses
If there are any witnesses at the scene, be sure to talk to them and ask them to describe what they saw in detail. Make a note of the following:
- Their full name
- The time that you spoke to them
- Details about what they witnessed (the order the events transpired, etc.)
If you’re not able or don’t wish to write down information, you can record the audio of your conversation instead with the witness’s permission.
If the witness agrees to the recording, have them clearly state their full name, the date, and the time of the recording at the beginning before they speak about the accident.
Afterward, email these files to yourself so that you can ensure that you’ll always have access to them.
6. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you feel and look fine, you must seek medical attention after you leave the scene. Not only will this provide a legal record of any injuries you have, but it will also screen for any underlying complications that may not be immediately apparent.
An epidural hematoma, also known as “Talk and Die Syndrome,” may occur after taking a significant blow to the head. But, symptoms of a medical emergency generally aren’t present after the victim regains consciousness.
If left untreated, permanent brain damage (and even death) are common results. While this an extreme scenario, someone can experience this injury as the result of a car accident.
7. Contact an Attorney
If you were injured in an auto accident or are blamed by the other party, it’s best to get in touch with an attorney to take care of any legal obligations.
An experienced professional will help you get the full amount of compensation you deserve while also defending you against the other party’s claims. After the above steps are taken care of, reach out to a reputable lawyer in your area.
Even a brief consultation can help prevent further complications.
Knowing What to Do After a Car Crash Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about what to do after a car crash in mind, you’ll be well on your way toward handling everything in a thorough and timely manner.
Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.