Car accidents are a frightening reality that can happen to anyone at any time. While we all hope to never find ourselves in such a situation, being prepared is half the battle won. Knowing the dos and don’ts after a car accident will significantly impact your physical, emotional, and financial recovery. So, let’s dive in and arm ourselves with the knowledge that can turn a moment of crisis into an opportunity for growth.
What to Do Immediately After the Accident
Call 911 Right Away
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, adrenaline and shock might mask the severity of your injuries. You may think you’re fine, but some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions, don’t show immediate symptoms. That’s why calling 911 isn’t just a precaution; it’s a necessity. It allows medical professionals to evaluate you and for law enforcement to properly document the scene with a police report.
Step-by-Step Guide to Calling 911
- Check Your Surroundings. Before making the call, ensure you’re and out of the way of oncoming traffic and in a safe location away from immediate danger.
- Dial 911. Dial 911 and give them your exact location, the number of vehicles involved, and a brief description of the injuries you can see.
- Follow Instructions. Listen carefully to the dispatcher to obtain first-aid guidance over the phone.
Tip: Always keep your phone fully charged when driving. A portable charger could be a lifesaver in extreme situations, as you never know when you’ll need to make this critical call.
Secure the Scene
Imagine you’re in a minor fender-bender. You might think it’s not a big deal to leave your car where it is, but that can obstruct traffic and potentially lead to more accidents. By moving your car to the side of the road and turning on your hazard lights, you’re preventing additional incidents and making it easier for emergency services to reach you.
How to Secure the Scene
Turn on your hazard lights immediately. If it’s safe, move your car to the side of the road. If you have safety cones or flares, now’s the time to use them.
Tip: Before you move anything, snap some photos or videos of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, and any visible injuries. Your smartphone’s camera is a powerful tool for preserving the scene as evidence. This evidence can be used to support your version of the story and can help you in an insurance claim and legal proceedings.
The Necessity of Gathering Information
You’ll need more than just the other driver’s name and insurance information. Note the make and model of their car and take photos of any damage to both vehicles. Get the home address, phone number, and license plate number of the negligent party. If there are witnesses, their accounts can be of great value, so get their contact information and a brief statement of what they saw.
Tip: Keep a notepad and pen in your car to jot down information quickly. Alternatively, use your phone to record verbal statements.
What Not to Do After a Car Accident
Don’t Neglect Medical Treatment
When you’re involved in a car accident, your first instinct might be to assess your own condition. You might think, “I am OK; maybe I don’t need medical attention.” This is a common misconception that can have serious repercussions down the line.
First and foremost, you need to understand that some injuries are not visible or immediately noticeable. For instance, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can present symptoms within 15 minutes to 3 months, while hemorrhagic shock and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may not exhibit immediate symptoms but can become deadly. That’s why you really shouldn’t wait to get checked out by a doctor.
Moreover, when you visit an emergency room or urgent care center, healthcare professionals will document your condition. This medical record becomes a critical piece of evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim or need to negotiate with insurance companies.
Your Health and your Future Matters
- Go to the Nearest Emergency Room or Urgent Care Center. Don’t waste time. The quicker you get medical attention, the better it is for both your health and any future litigation or insurance claims.
- Adhere to the Treatment Plan. Once you’ve been examined, the healthcare professionals will likely provide a treatment plan. Stick to it. Ignoring medical advice can not only put your health at risk but also weaken your legal case.
Tip: If you’re thinking you can skip the medical check-up because you feel fine, think again. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, may not manifest symptoms immediately. A full medical check-up can catch these before they become more severe or fatal.
Don’t Speak Without Preparation
When you’re in the aftermath of a car accident, you might feel the urge to explain your side of the story immediately, especially to insurance companies. However, this can be a huge mistake. Insurance companies have a knack for taking statements out of context to minimize their liability and pay you less or nothing. For example, saying something as simple as “I’m feeling fine” can later be used against you to argue that you weren’t seriously injured.
So, what should you do instead? Before speaking to an insurance adjuster, consult with a personal injury attorney. This is not just legal jargon; it’s a protective measure. Your attorney can help you craft a statement that accurately represents the facts without jeopardizing your claim. He or she can guide you on what to say and what to avoid so that your words can’t be twisted against you later.
Tip: Follow all instructions provided by your attorney to the letter. You may be asked to submit additional information or documents or present yourself at certain times.
Don’t Wait for the Insurance Company
Many people mistakenly believe that filing an insurance claim is the end of their responsibilities, and all that’s left is to wait. This passive approach can harm your case more than you might realize. Insurance companies are not on your side; their main goal is to pay out as little as possible.
So, what’s the real-world impact of this? Imagine you’re waiting for the insurance company to go through your medical bills. In the meantime, you could lose the opportunity to file a personal injury lawsuit, potentially missing out on a more substantial settlement. This oversight can have a domino effect on your ability to secure fair compensation.
Instead of waiting, be proactive from the get-go. Keep all evidence related to the accident, such as medical records and bills. Make sure to document your medical treatments and medications as well. Doing so not only strengthens your case but also puts you in a better position during settlement negotiations.
Tip: Don’t just wait for the insurance company to make the next move. Take proactive steps like preserving evidence, documenting medical treatments, and seeking legal advice to build a strong case.
In Summary: You’ve Got This
Getting through the aftermath of a car accident is undeniably difficult for many victims. From the moment the accident happens to the final settlement, each step you take can significantly influence your recovery—physically, emotionally, and financially.
Remember, the first few minutes after an accident are imminent. Quick thinking to call 911 and secure the scene can set the tone for everything that follows. Prioritize your health, and don’t underestimate the power of medical records—they’re your ticket to a fair settlement. Always keep in mind that insurance companies aren’t your friends; take control and be proactive. Collect all your evidence, and consult with a legal expert to ensure you’re taking all the right steps toward a reasonable settlement.
Life may be unpredictable, but your actions in the wake of an auto accident don’t have to be. By following these guidelines, you can improve your overall well-being.
Lawsuit Funding Support for Accident Victims
Waiting for a settlement can indeed put a strain on your wallet, right? The good news is you don’t have to go through it alone. Baker Street Funding specializes in non-recourse car accident lawsuit loans to offer much-needed cash in a time of need. Our loans aren’t your average loans; they’re financial cushions designed to help you cover immediate expenses like medical bills, living costs, and rent. And get this—our lawsuit loan rates start at just 2.95% per month, non-compounding.
Unlike traditional loans, our non-recourse loans mean you’re not personally liable to pay back the borrowed amount if your case doesn’t win. It’s a risk-free financial solution designed to reduce your stress and make sure you don’t have to worry about money when you’re fighting for justice.
So, if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of a car accident, know that you are equipped with the knowledge and resources to turn a traumatic event into a manageable situation. You’re not just a victim; you’re a survivor, and survivors take action.
Ready to get funding for your car accident case? Support is just a call or click away. Baker Street Funding is committed to giving you the financial relief you need to regain control today.