Assess Your Injuries and Safety
Take a few deep breaths to collect yourself so you can effectively deal with the situation. Evaluate your physical condition and the safety of your environment. If you’re severely injured and having trouble moving, you should call 911 immediately.
If you’re able to, check on any passengers, put your hazard lights on, exit the vehicle and move off the road if it is safe to do so. If you have any reflective roadside devices, you can place these to alert other drivers. Above all, prioritize your safety to avoid any further harm from a secondary collision.
We recommend calling 911 even if the other driver does not want to involve the police. Some accidents may appear minor only to have injuries or damages appear later. You may need the police report to bring a personal injury claim and it will include important evidence from an objective third party. Be sure to request an ambulance if anyone needs urgent medical care.
Be honest and do not exaggerate when speaking with the officer. You should focus on the events that led up to the accident and not on placing blame. If you suspect alcohol or distracted driving was involved, mention these details to the officer. Make sure that they document any statements from supportive witnesses.
If you disagree with the police officer’s report or anyone is disputing your version of events, we recommend speaking with a lawyer immediately.
Get Medical Attention
If you or someone else is injured, request an ambulance when you call 911. Even if the ambulance is for someone else and you feel okay, allow for a medical evaluation from the medical responders. Refusing an evaluation can be seen as evidence that you were not hurt from the accident.
If you are seriously injured, take an ambulance to the hospital where you will be treated in the emergency room. If no ambulance comes to the scene, you should get evaluated by your own doctor as they may recognize symptoms or injuries that you missed.
Small breaks, fractures, or soft tissue injuries such as whiplash are common in accidents and can go undetected in the immediate aftermath. Your body may be in a state of shock or full of adrenaline and you may not be aware of the extent of your injuries. An evaluation and follow-up visit with your doctor will help protect your right to recover for any medical care that you end up needing.
You should record the following information from the other driver.
- Registration - is the car registered to another person or company?
- Insurance - company name and policy number
- Phone Number
You should take photos and collect evidence as soon as possible following an accident. Try to get pictures of the crash from all angles but don’t put your safety at risk to do so. If you require urgent medical attention, ask a witness or friend to help document the scene.
Anything that could be relevant to the accident should be recorded including:
- Weather and road conditions - was it raining heavily or foggy with low visibility?
- Lighting - was there a poorly lit street sign?
- Skid marks on the road
- Photos detailing the damage
- License Plates
We encourage you to document the incident as thoroughly as possible because most of the evidence will disappear shortly after the accident. By the time you talk to us, the scene may have been cleaned up and any unidentified witnesses will be gone.
Get Witness Contact Information
Record any witness statements or make sure they are in the police report. Be sure to get their contact information.
Take Notes and Record How You Are Feeling
Write down or record what happened and how you are feeling after the accident. This information can be helpful in recreating the accident and identifying potential injuries from it.
Notify Your Insurance
Most policies require you to notify your insurance company shortly after an accident and failing to do so can disqualify any future claims. Avoid giving a recorded statement and keep conversation to a minimum.
Get Advice From An Attorney
If you are not 100% confident about what to say, we encourage you to contact a personal injury lawyer before you talk to any insurance representative. Insurance adjusters are trained to get you to say things that can hurt your claim and there is no way to undo mistakes if you say the wrong thing.
Follow All Medical Advice From Your Doctor
Receiving a prompt medical evaluation after a car accident is critical even if you think the incident was minor. Any treatment prescribed by your doctor should be followed.
Record All Medical Expenses
Keep organized and detailed records of all your medical treatment. In a serious accident, costs will add up quickly and it can be difficult to keep track of all the different bills. A reputable personal injury law firm will have experienced staff able to assist you with this.
Record Any Missed Work
If your injury is severe and you miss any work or are unable to perform the work you were previously doing, this information will help you recover for lost wages. Document any previous wage information and income tax statements.
Knowing what you should not do after an accident on the road can be just as important as knowing what to do.