What Can I Do If I’m Injured in a Car Accident?
After becoming injured in a car accident, our brain and body’s reaction is to focus on getting out of the dangerous situation and finding ways to heal. Oftentimes, we are so frazzled from the unexpected incident that we aren’t sure what to do, as our thinking goes offline and we are in survival mode simply reacting to the situation.
Knowing what you can do before an accident occurs can help you prepare in case the situation does arise when you find yourself or a loved one injured in a car accident.
First Steps upon Being Injured in a Car Accident
Stay at the Scene
The first thing to do is to be sure that you remain at the scene of the accident when there are injuries.
Take several moments to orient yourself back to the situation as much as you can. Look around, notice your surroundings, and scan your body, paying attention to areas of need. This will serve to let your body know that the immediate accident has passed and allow your nervous system to be aware of any injuries. This is important because sometimes the shock from a car accident can mask injuries.
Check on the Condition of All Passengers and Drivers Involved
After you have taken several moments to check in with yourself, be sure you check to see how others in your vehicle are doing to see if they have been injured. If anyone has a back or neck injury, be sure not to move them and wait for emergency personnel to help. Check on the driver and passengers of the other vehicle to determine their injuries as well.
Call for medical help if anyone is in need, or have someone call for you if you are unable to do so.
Anytime you are in an accident, even if you are not immediately feeling hurt or your injuries were not severe enough to warrant urgent or emergency care, you should still visit your own physician or another doctor who can provide medical attention right away. Sometimes injuries may not appear until later and having documentation of your care is important.
Contact the Police
Any time there is personal injury or property damage, the police should be called. Be sure to ask for a police report to be filed, and ask for the name and badge number of the officers who have responded to the scene for your records.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver(s) and any Passengers
As you do so, do not apologize for anything, such as saying “I am sorry, I didn’t even see the stop sign. Are you ok?” You do not want to mistakenly admit fault for the accident, and it’s best to focus on checking on everyone’s health condition, calmly providing information and waiting for the officers to arrive to discuss any facts surrounding the car accident with them.
Be sure to get the following information:
- All passengers/drivers: names, addresses, and phone numbers
- All drivers involved: insurance information, driver’s license number, and vehicle license plate number of all vehicles involved
Gather Information from Witnesses
If there are any witnesses present at the scene, be sure to get a detailed description of what they saw, and take note of their names, phone numbers and addresses as well.
Take Photographs of Damage
Taking photographs of any damage at the scene can be very helpful for you as insurance adjusters consider compensation and can help give more detail about the situation.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible following the accident. Be sure to tell them the truth about what led to the situation, citing any police reports that may indicate fault or who broke any relevant traffic laws. If the policyholder has been found to have lied about any aspect of the situation, serious trouble may follow, so it is important to be honest.
Consider Contacting an Attorney ASAP
Working with an attorney can oftentimes help you get all the compensation that you are legally entitled to, which may not be provided if you work directly with your insurance company. A lawyer can begin to help you immediately before the insurance company conducts its own investigation, which can be skewed to favor the insurance company.
A lawyer can help you to make sure that you have all the documentation necessary to support your claim and can speak on your behalf when dealing with insurance companies.
Use Discretion When Discussing the Accident with Others
You should only discuss the details of the accident with the police, your insurance company, and your attorney. You should not speak to the representative of another driver’s insurance company without previous knowledge of your attorney or of your own insurer. You can ask the other party’s insurance company to contact your attorney or your insurance company to arrange an interview.
Taking Legal Action after Being Injured in a Car Accident
An experienced personal injury attorney at McDonald Worley is available to provide you with a free case review and consultation if you have been injured in a car accident. Plaintiffs are often able to recover significant amounts of money to help pay for medical expenses, lost wages and more.