Most of us already know how common motor vehicle accidents are. Without doubt, you have been in a motor vehicle accident or know someone who has. Despite how common accidents are, most of us are not prepared for when they happen. Few people know the checklist of things they should do following an incident which adds to the chaos and stress. An accident happens in an instant, and there’s often nothing you can do to prevent another driver from causing one. The moments following a car accident can be overwhelming, but knowing what to do right after can be a huge help at that moment and later.
If you’ve ever wondered, “what is the first thing to do after an accident,” you need to be sure you’re prepared. Here’s what you need to do after an accident.
Contact the Police
You should contact the police immediately after an accident, even if it’s minor. The police will file an official accident report, which will be important in helping you receive compensation later. This also ensures that any critical information about the accident is taken down.
More importantly, should there be another party in the crash that is critically injured, the time that you delay in calling for help may be the difference between life and death. The police will not only notify proper emergency personnel, but they will assist in securing the scene so secondary crashes and injuries can be avoided.
Check Yourself for Injuries
Checking yourself for injuries right after a crash may seem the most obvious and natural of all immediate responses. Your adrenaline will be pumping after the accident, so you might not feel an injury right away. Still, over-exerting yourself while you’re seriously injured can cause a lot of additional harm. There may be internal injuries that you might not be able to see or feel at this time, so if you suspect that anything is wrong, you don’t want to push yourself. If you’ve suffered any injuries in the accident, it’s important that you get medical treatment quickly. This is important to help keep you safe and to have on record that you were injured and received treatment from a medical professional. If you have symptoms of pain, you should immediately seek medical treatment.
Move to a Safe Location
After you have called the police and they have let you know it is okay to move your vehicle due to heavy traffic, you may want to pull over to a safer location. If you are in an area with traffic, you are generally not safe in the middle of the roadway. You don’t want to risk a secondary accident. Only move your vehicle if you are in immediate danger. If you’re still on the road, you could end up getting hit by other cars driving past the accident. Again, law enforcement are usually happy to respond in an effort to avoid other collisions and injuries.
Once you’re out of the way of traffic, you’ll want to exchange information with the other driver. The information you need to get includes their name, insurance information, contact information, and a description of their vehicle, including the make, model, year, and license plate number. You should also get contact information for the police officer present and witnesses if there are any. If you have a cell phone on you, be sure to take pictures of the damage from multiple angles for future reference.
When you call the police to the scene, they will document the crash. However, they rarely take photos unless there is a fatality at the scene. If there is a fatality at the scene, an expert accident reconstructionist will most likely travel to the scene, close down the roadway and do a complete reconstruction. Other drivers are also less likely to give false information to the police than in a personal exchange with another individual driver.
However, you must be careful with what you say to the other parties involved in the crash. When giving a statement, keep to the facts of the crash and immediate relevant events prior. Officers cannot record feelings and emotions for their report. While many people are upset after a crash, blaming others and shouting is never part of the solution.
Contact a Lawyer
Ideally, an insurance company will provide you with enough financial compensation to cover the damages the accident caused. However, this isn’t the case for many people injured in car accidents. Many end up needing the help of a personal injury lawyer who specializes in car accidents to help them receive the compensation they deserve. You should not wait until the conclusion of your claim to worry about the insurance carrier being fair. At The Cagle Law Firm, we help those injured car accidents receive financial compensation following their accidents.
Call us toll-free at (1-800) 685-3302 or locally at (314) 276-1681 to discuss your situation with a St. Louis car accident lawyer.