A car crash is stressful. With adrenaline pumping and your heart racing, it’s easy to forget some of the basic steps that will help you mount a successful car crash case in the long run. To help you navigate these stressful situations, we’ve put together these 5 important steps to take immediately after a car crash.
Check for Injuries
After a serious crash, you need to stop and take a moment to refocus yourself. Moving too quickly could cause additional injuries. Once the car has come to a complete stop, look around and slowly move your joints.
If you feel pain or sense the twinging stiffness of a broken bone, limit your movement (if it is safe to do so) and call an ambulance. Similarly, call an ambulance if you see any blood. Even a bloody nose could be a warning sign of a concussion which could become life-threatening if left untreated.
If you don’t require an ambulance, you need to meet the other driver and get their information. Some people are nervous about this part because they don’t know how the other driver will react.
Stay calm and avoid discussing the crash. Focus on moving forward. If they don’t need an ambulance, you should call the non-emergency number for law enforcement and get an officer on the scene. In the meantime, you can trade insurance information.
Here’s a simple checklist to make sure you have everything you need before parting ways:
- Driver’s Name
- Driver’s License Number
- Insurance Carrier
- Policy Number
- Driver’s Phone Number
- License Plate Number
- Pictures of Each Side of Both Vehicles
- Pictures of Where the Crash Occurred
With this information, your attorney will have everything they need to contact the other driver’s insurance company and start your case on the right foot. However, it is equally important to verify the information and put it into the public record. That’s where the police officer comes in.
File a Police Report
Having a police officer at the scene of the accident is critical for a few reasons. First, they can help everyone to safety and direct traffic while vehicles are moved out of the road. Second, they can write a police report.
A police report is one of the most important pieces of evidence to have in a crash and the first thing most attorneys will ask for during a consultation. A police report is an unbiased document in the public record showing where and when the crash occurred, the resulting damages, and who was involved.
The police report is the best proof you have that the crash happened in the way you described. Moreover, a police report will include all of the insurance information listed above and more. It may also include statements from witnesses, which can be essential in determining who was at fault for the crash.
Go to the Doctor
If you didn’t leave the scene of the crash in an ambulance, your next stop should be your doctor’s office. Going to the doctor immediately after a crash is the best way to document your injuries (both obvious and latent). It also sends a powerful message to the insurance companies; it tells them that the crash was severe enough to warrant immediate medical attention. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more likely the insurance company is to undermine the severity of your injuries or dismiss them altogether.
That said, remember that adrenaline from the crash can numb you to the full extent of your injuries (especially in the case of something like a hairline fracture). Even if you don’t feel immediate pain, you should go to the doctor’s office.
If you’re worried about the cost of care, you should consult with your attorney ASAP. Your attorney may be able to help you find a doctor who agrees to a lien, meaning they’ll wait for payment until your car crash case is settled.
Call an Attorney
Finally, you should consult an experienced car accident attorney. When you hire an attorney, they’ll gather all the evidence, handle the paperwork, and make difficult phone calls with the insurance company, giving you more time to rest and recovery.
Typically, those who hire an attorney are not only significantly more likely to win a settlement, but their settlements are much larger than the few who successfully negotiate a case by themselves. When you hire an attorney, they’ll do the hard work so you can focus on feeling better.
If you were hit and hurt in a car crash, we’re here to help. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer from Payne Law Firm, please don’t hesitate to call (713) 999-4801 or send us an email.