The very thought of getting into an accident can be cause for stress. When something like that occurs, your whole world can turn upside down — especially if your injuries are severe enough or if the damage to your car puts you in a financially precarious situation. That’s why it’s always a good idea to prepare ahead of time. That way, when the unthinkable happens, you have a prearranged checklist to help you navigate what can be a high-stakes situation. Once you have a basic idea of what to do after an accident you can feel more prepared every time you walk out your door and into your car.
First things first: if an accident occurs, you want to remain as calm as possible. Take a few breaths and check to make sure everyone is ok. Is anyone hurt? Are you hurt? If so, how bad are the injuries? Next, if possible, you want to leave the car where it is. Of course, you need to prioritize your safety, so if you need to get the car out of the middle of the highway, do so. But before you move the vehicle, you may want to take pictures of the scene as it is. Once again, only do this, if it is safe. Don’t put you or your passengers in any unnecessary danger. And when you’re settled, call the police, so they can survey the scene for themselves. An outside eye can help corroborate your story in the future.
Basically, right after collision, you want to collect as much information as possible and facilitate the work of the police officers who will also collect information that may be useful in the future. During this period, you also want to be sure to get information from the other driver, including his or her, driver’s license, license plate and insurance.
After the initial stage is complete – and the police officers have written their reports – you should seek out medical attention as soon as possible. Failure to do so could result in severe losses in the future when you’re attempting to recover compensation for damages to your vehicle and bodily injuries incurred as a result of the accident. To that end, if you notice any injuries at the scene, you may want to call an ambulance or ask the police officers to do it for you. Even if you don’t call an ambulance, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Some injuries are more insidious than others and take more time to manifest. If delayed injuries (such as brain injuries) aren’t caught in time, your insurance company (or the insurance company of the other driver) may be able to argue that they were not the direct result of the accident.
Moreover, should always follow the instructions of your doctor. If you miss an appointment here and there, the insurance company can use that against you and downplay the severity of your injuries. Of course, it is also beneficial to your health to follow the doctor’s orders.
Back to Work?
You should ask your doctor whether you can work. In many cases, the doctor will tell you to return to work but to avoid certain activities. If your case goes to court, it’s good to remember that juries tend to look poorly upon those who are able to work but choose not to. However, if you are in extreme pain and are truly unable to do your job, you should trust your judgement. There’s no need to reinjure yourself.
Not long after you’ve been injured, you may want to seek out the help of an automobile accident attorney such as those at Smith Stag. We can help you navigate the sometimes-turbulent negotiations between you and the other party. To that end, it’s very important that you avoid talking to the other driver’s insurance company without an attorney present. Once you have representation, your lawyer will be the main point of contact, leaving you with less stress than before.
These are some of basic steps to follow after a car accident. For a more detailed picture, please call us today.