According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 6.7 million vehicle accidents in the United States in a recent year. Of those crashes, nearly two million resulted in injury or death. That means almost 5,550 injury-causing accidents occurred each day in the US.
No one likes to think about the risk of being in an accident, much less the potential of being injured. However, it’s much better to plan and know what to do after a car accident before the worst-case scenario happens. If you have an accident, you may feel confused or in pain, so having an action plan ahead of time is a must.
After a motor vehicle accident, you need to remember four key actions:
- Safety first: Check for injuries, move your vehicle to a safe place, and call 911.
- Document everything: Get other drivers’ names, contact information, and insurance details.
- File an insurance claim: Engage an injury attorney to interface with insurers.
- Hire an attorney: Let legal experts guide you through the insurance and litigation process.
1) Safety First
After an accident, check yourself and your passengers over for injuries. If anyone needs emergency medical care, call 911 to request an ambulance right away.
Even if you don’t have any obvious injuries, it is a good idea to get prompt medical care following a collision. Some internal injuries may not be apparent. Also, adrenaline may be coursing through your body after an accident. While this can help you navigate the stress of the situation, it may also mask sensations of pain so you may not realize that you are injured.
Also, you should be aware that complications like whiplash may not present until days after the accident. What is whiplash? As the Mayo Clinic reports, whiplash is an injury caused by the neck moving in a rapid, back-and-forth motion. This sudden movement can cause chronic pain or loss of motion in the neck, along with related symptoms such as headaches, tingling or pain in the arms or back, fatigue, dizziness, and more. Some people have months or years of chronic pain due to accident-related whiplash.
If you seek medical care immediately after or in the days following an accident, secure as much documentation as possible about your visits to healthcare providers. Be sure that you understand any diagnoses, fill any prescriptions, and follow your physician’s advice. Taking these steps demonstrates that you sought prompt care and pursued proper treatment, which will support any insurance or legal claims.
Following an accident, if you are medically capable of driving and your vehicle is operational, you can move to a safe place away from the flow of traffic. Put on your hazard lights to alert oncoming traffic to your stopped vehicle. You should also notify the police by calling 911.
2) Document Everything
- Driver’s name
- Driver’s license number
- Home address
- Phone number
- Insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Vehicle make, model, and color
- Vehicle identification number (Learn how to find a VIN)
While at the scene of the accident, you should also take steps to support your efforts in pursuing insurance compensation or filing a legal claim:
- Take photos or videos of the accident scene
- Take pictures or videos detailing the damage to all vehicles involved
- Take photos of other parties’ vehicle license plates
- Get contact details for any witness present at the scene
- Secure the name and badge number of responding police officers
- Request a police report number
Also, scan the crash area for any relevant road signs or directional markers. Be on the lookout for any construction, stop lights or signs, speed limit signs, or other indicators that the other party was not following safe driving practices.
3) File an Insurance Claim
You can speak to an insurance agent to initiate a claim after a car accident. However, you need to know that insurers are not always on the side of injured parties, and there are things your insurance adjuster does not what you to know. Why is that the case? Insurers want to minimize the amount they pay out for accidents, so they often downplay vehicle damage and injuries caused by collisions to save money.
Instead of contacting an insurance provider yourself, you may find it helpful to engage an experienced personal injury attorney like the professionals at Thompson Law in Texas. We know how to guide you through what to do after a car accident. You can place a free, confidential call to Thompson Law and get help navigating the complexities of insurance coverage after a vehicle collision.
You must file a claim with your insurer or the at-fault driver’s insurance company to secure coverage for your medical bills. A personal injury attorney can assist you with submitting an insurance claim to safeguard your legal rights.
If you need to make the first contact with your insurer without an attorney, provide only the minimum requested information. Do not make any statements or answer any probing questions. Instead, politely decline and let your insurance company know you want to consult an attorney before conversing with them further. You attorney will be aware of insurance adjuster tactics, and how to avoid damaging your claim.
4) Hire an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
We Offer FREE CONSULT So You Know What to Do After a Car Accident
At Thompson Law, we are available for free vehicle accident case reviews 24/7/365. That means you can reach out for expert legal guidance, any time, day or night for help knowing what to do after a car accident. Not only are our initial consults free, but you don’t have to pay for our legal services unless we win your case. We’ll take our fees out of any settlement you receive.
Keep in mind that the statute of limitations for injury claims in Texas is two years. In our experience, you’ll achieve the best results by contacting a personal injury attorney sooner rather than later. We can guide you through all the critical steps after you have an accident—from filing your insurance claim to presenting your case in court.
Having a vehicle accident is an immense source of stress, especially if you are injured. By working with Thompson Law, you can leave the legal process up to the experts and focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Thompson Law has a strong track record of winning cases and gaining settlements for our personal injury clients. Call us today to get expert advice on what to do after a car accident and learn how our team can help you.
We have experience dealing with different types of insurance with various insurance companies. We know what to expect from insurers such as:
- American Family Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
- Fred Loya
- Insurance companies for Uber and Lyft
We know what to do after a car accident in terms of handling claims with each of the above insurance companies. We can help you, too.
DOs and DON’Ts After An Accident
Part of knowing what to do after a car accident is also knowing what NOT to do. The infographic below will help highlight what you should – and should not – do after a car accident.What-Should-I-Do-After-a-Car-Accident-Dos-and-Donts