What to do After a Car Accident
You’re on the roads you drive every day, with both hands on the wheel and your phone safely tucked away, when another driver suddenly veers into your lane, fails to stop at a light, or speeds into your path. As a responsible driver, you do your best to avoid the collision, but it’s too late—you’ve been in a car accident.
The moments after a car accident are stressful and scary. But if you are not seriously injured and are able to walk around and communicate with others at the scene of the accident, there are a few important steps you should take immediately after a car accident.
Four Crucial Steps After Your Car Crash
STEP 1: Make sure everyone is okay. Tend to any minor injuries and call 911 to get immediate medical attention for anyone with serious injuries. While there are plenty of liability and insurance issues to think about after a car accident, getting help should always be your top priority.
STEP 2: Call the police. Even if there are not serious injuries, calling the police means that the accident will be on record. This can be useful if legal or insurance disputes later arise.
STEP 3: Get evidence of the accident. Take pictures of the damage and injuries, your surroundings, and anything else that relates to the accident, like skid marks on the road. You should also make a note of your location and any factors that could have influenced the accident, like rainy weather or a pothole in the road. Evidence plays an important role in car accident cases, especially when the other driver makes claims that don’t match up with yours.
STEP 4: Get the information of others at the scene of the accident. This includes the other driver, but also anyone who witnessed the accident. For example, if a pedestrian on a nearby sidewalk saw the accident, you would also want to get their information, as they could be a valuable witness later. When taking down information, you should get the person’s name and contact information, like an address, cell phone number, or email address where they can be easily reached. When talking to the other driver, you should also get their insurance information.
Many people overlook taking pictures and getting witness information in the chaos of an accident, but it makes a big difference when it comes to legal and insurance disputes over your case. If you are unable to do it yourself, ask a family member or someone else at the scene of the accident to help you. If you are relying on someone else to take pictures or write down information, just make sure you have a way to get that information from them later!
Immediately after a car accident, the most important things are seeking medical attention, gathering evidence, and taking down any necessary information. There are also a few other important steps to take in the days after an accident, especially if you are in need of medical treatment or need to consult with a car crash lawyer.
Seeking Medical Treatment After Your Car Crash
If you require medical attention for your injuries, it is very important to seek treatment as quickly as possible after a car accident. Seeking treatment for your car accident injuries is important not just for your health and well-being, but also because:
- Your doctor cannot accurately give a report or testimony on your injuries if they do not treat you for those injuries
- If you fail to seek treatment, insurance companies may regard it as evidence that you were not seriously injured in the accident or not injured at all, which jeopardizes your personal injury claims
- If you do not report your injuries, no claims can be made on them later, even if an injury starts to cause pain after the case has settled
In Florida, seeking treatment after a car accident is especially crucial. This is because Florida has a law commonly referred to as the “14 Day Rule.” According to this rule, an injured person must obtain medical care within 14 days of their car accident injury. If they do not seek treatment within 14 days after their injury-causing accident, their insurance company can deny the claim. This is why you should always seek treatment after a car accident, even for minor injuries.
Pursuing Legal Action After Your Car Crash
If you are planning to pursue a car against the reckless or negligent person who caused the accident, you can also begin the earliest steps of your legal process in the days after a car accident. When pursuing a car accident case, the first step is finding a reputable personal injury attorney in your area. To find a car crash attorney, you can ask friends, family members, or coworkers for recommendations, research local attorneys online, or check with your local Bar Association.
When you’ve found a few car crash lawyers who seem like a good fit for your potential case, the next step is to schedule a case consultation. Most attorneys offer a free consultation for potential clients, so there is no harm in going to talk to an attorney, even if you are not sure that they’re the perfect fit for your case. A consultation gives you the chance to learn more about the attorney, their practice areas, and their experience, while they have the opportunity to get more details on your case.
If you or a loved one sustained serious injuries in a car accident, it’s important to meet with a car crash attorney as quickly as possible. The legal process can be long and complex, so you will want to get started on finding compensation and justice as soon as possible.
A car accident is never a fun situation, especially when there are serious injuries, property damage, or even fatalities. But immediately following the car crash, all the way through the first 14 days after the accident, there are many critical steps to take. It is all a lot to think about, but taking steps like obtaining evidence, seeking treatment, and researching car crash attorneys, you are getting a head-start on the road to justice, relief, and recovery.