With an estimated six million car accidents happening in America each year, your odds of experiencing one are quite high. Thankfully, most crashes result in only minor injuries. Yet, even then, it is important that you know how to proceed afterward. These 10 steps to take after a car accident can provide you with guidance.
1. Check Yourself and Passengers for Injuries
The first step to take after an accident is to ensure that you and your passengers are not severely injured. Note that not all injuries may be visible. Check for any signs of disorientation or fatigue. Also look for any swelling or distention of the stomach and other areas of the body, and for blood coming from the nose, mouth, or ears. Ensure that all passengers can feel their limbs and extremities. Avoid moving any passenger that appears to have a head, neck, or spinal injury (often indicated by a loss of feeling, dizziness, or disorientation).
2. Ensure the Safety of Other Involved Parties
Once you are certain that everyone in your own vehicle is safe, check the status of any other involved parties. Use the same checklist you used to gauge injuries in the passengers of your own vehicle and follow the same guidelines regarding moving the individual.
3. Get to Safety
As long as there are no serious injuries that prevent you from moving passengers, move everyone safely out of the way. Odds are, the vehicles are holding up traffic. Standing near them can result in a secondary crash. There is also the risk of combustion and fumes, so try to get as far away from the vehicles as possible.
4. Call and Report the Accident
Whether or not there are severe injuries, it is recommended that you call the authorities to report the accident. The police will help in gathering evidence and photos from the scene, and they can talk to potential witnesses to gather statements. An ambulance can also give all victims a once-over to ensure nothing was missed in the initial analysis of potential injuries.
5. Exchange Information with Other Involved Parties
Because fault may be wide-spread in a car accident, you will want to gather the information of all involved parties. You need a photo of their driver’s license, their vehicle tag number, and a copy of their insurance card. Store these in your phone to prevent loss or misplacement.
6. Collect Information from All Witnesses
Witnesses can provide valuable details regarding how and why an accident occurred. Unfortunately, if you do not gather their information at the scene of the crash, you may lose them completely. Take down names and numbers of as many people as possible.
7. Preserve the Scene of the Accident
While you wait for the authorities to arrive, take photos of the scene. Note things like damage to your vehicle, skid marks, traffic signs, and other relevant information. Do not move things around (especially your vehicle), as the exact placement may help in the recreation of the accident if one is required to determine fault.
8. Seek Medical Attention
Even if you think you managed to escape the accident unscathed, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately after the crash. Your injuries may be hidden or masked by adrenaline. Seeing a healthcare professional documents the crash and proves that any sustained injuries were the direct result of the accident.
9. Call and Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Once you are home and safe, you will want to call your insurance company to report the accident. Provide them with the applicable details, but under no circumstance should you admit fault or accept a payout. Instead, contact a seasoned attorney to increase your chances of a full and fair settlement for your losses after a car crash.
10. Contact Our Seasoned Appleton Car Accident Lawyers
The seasoned Green Bay car crash lawyers at Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. will fight hard to make sure you receive the full and fair compensation that you deserve. Call 920-739-7366 and schedule your free initial consultation to get started today.