April 16, 2024

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Follow These Crucial Steps After a Car Crash

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While a car crash can be one of the most frightening experiences of your life, if you take the right steps, you can walk away from the experience feeling rejuvenated and calm. Immediately after an accident, safety is the priority. With it, you establish control over an unfortunate situation while preventing the ordeal from becoming worse. Your car might not be in the best shape, but if you keep these crucial steps in mind, the aftermath of a car crash could go in your favor. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to acting after a car crash.

Pull Over and Make Sure Everyone is Safe

Following a crash, pull over and hope the pain is not too great. Injuries range from minor cuts and bruises to deep scrapes and scratches, fractures, and broken bones, primarily head and chest injuries. Car crashes are sudden and forceful, often creating whiplash which can persist for weeks. Other passengers in your car might simply be dazed, confused, panicked, or upset. The idea here is to gather everyone up safely alongside the road. Stop somewhere with enough distance between the family and the damaged vehicle to prevent further injuries from flying debris. Take the time now to assess injuries. Everyone should check for pain, blood, discomfort, problems with thinking, vision, or hearing. Meanwhile, the driver, whether that’s you or someone else, should turn on your emergency flashers. These flashers protect others drivers by alerting them to the presence of danger.

Hopefully, everyone is okay after the crash. After checking for injuries, it’s okay to take a break. You don’t have to rush immediately to the other driver or make too many decisions too fast. Allow yourself a few moments to clear your head and gain a grasp of your bearings. Depending on the force of the collision, you or a passenger might suffer injuries worth consulting an injury attorney at a later date. For now, hug your family before making the most important decision thus far.

Dial 911

Having a professional on the scene will go a long way toward helping you feel less anxiety. However, you should always contact the police following an accident, as sometimes it’s the law in some states. By now, your thinking should be directed toward filing a police report. That way, an official investigation will be conducted into the crash. Both sides are already wondering who is at fault, and maybe even come to that conclusion already. So, the police can also create a sense of security, reducing the potential for outbursts or threats.

Paramedics, meanwhile, can assess whether you or your family have suffered an injury you might not notice. A blow to the head, for example, would warrant closer attention from a paramedic. Likewise, you’ll see it will do no harm to request help for major bleeding, internal or otherwise.

Getting checked out takes a few minutes and will ensure that you’re safe. And it doesn’t cost you anything but patience. It’s also helpful to get any documentation or feedback from the paramedics at the scene for any future use. Remember, at some point, you’re going to want compensation or a way to defend yourself, so there are steps you still need to take. For now, trust that having authorities at the scene of a crash is more ideal, though not necessary. Sometimes, the police won’t respond won’t respond right away, leaving you to remain calm and assertive at the scene. Not impossible, but either way, there is information both parties need.

Peacefully Exchange Information

Exchange your most basic contact information; your name and number as well as the name and number of your auto insurance company. You don’t need to provide an address. In fact, don’t provide any overly confidential information other than these things. The only details that should get exchanged are those that are essential to the vehicles and the crash itself. You could mention your attorney’s number if you want to establish a dialogue from that angle.

For now, you might have noticed the damage to your vehicle. Don’t worry about car insurance lawyers just yet. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or something serious, resist the urge to play the “blame game”. Losing your temper is a good way to aggravate a situation if you’re not in the wrong. And the possibility of being taken advantage of? Imagine being the driver who did nothing wrong and another driver somehow gets you to admit you had something to drink hours ago. Some people will simply be out to deceive you. So, if you need to go over what happened, stick to the facts. Otherwise, peacefully exchange the most basic of details, and skip the potential for greater stress in the process.

Get Your Vehicle Towed if Necessary

Think of your car the way an auto body technician would. There are many moving parts that have to work together at the same time. Even a minor collision could cause misalignment. Maybe significant damage to the body or even suspension issues. Some of these problems might become immediately visible as you drive. But it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine if your vehicle is able to move. Critical damage will alter the performance of the vehicle. If you can’t keep to the same laws of driving, skip limping home and opt for auto roadside assistance services instead. A car towing services like Triple-A or your local tow truck station will transport your vehicle to an auto body shop for you. That way, you don’t have to risk your life.

For tow truck companies, you’ll be charged based on the distance the truck has to travel. So, keep that in mind now, as this would be a good time to start tracking the expenses. If you can identify what you’ll be paying upfront, then that’s more information to make decision-making easier later.

Submit an Insurance Claim

By the time you get back home, you should focus on relaxing. Then, you could gain some perspective on what just happened. Once the story takes form, you can prepare an auto insurance claim. Make sure to include every detail, including the location, type of damage, make and model of the other vehicle, time of day, location of the incident, and a copy of the police report. Making these claims online or using an app will likely make it easier for you to keep everything organized. Just remember, the whole point of insurance is protecting you from expenses you shouldn’t have to pay. If you decide to leave out pertinent information, you’ll only be hurting yourself, a risk you wouldn’t want to take considering the other driver is following the same steps you are.

Going forward, know that every document you add to your claim has a purpose. The police report brings clarity and evidence regarding the details of the incident and the ensuing investigation. Any medical reports show the insurance company where you suffered an injury and the specifics regarding that injury.

For the next few days, look for communication from law enforcement regarding the collision. By resisting the urge to go complacent, you take initiative in dealing with the situation. And getting ahead of the problem begins with contacting your auto insurance company ASAP.

Speak with a Car Accident Lawyer

The attorney you contact will depend on the nature of the crash. If you were at fault, an attorney can help you with your defense, pointing to contributing factors that weren’t your fault, or arguing to the courts for a lower fine. This scenario usually happens if there is a criminal case brought against you following an accident. For a civil matter, even if you have the legal knowledge, you should consider reaching out to your attorney following a crash. Car accident lawyers are personal injury attorneys who seek to get you compensation or money paid out in damages. It’s better to have your attorney on the case right away, as the office will need weeks or even months to gather evidence, go over supporting documentation, and address any witnesses pertinent to the case.

Moreover, determining who is at fault requires careful consideration. Only a judge presiding over the matter will be able to observe the driving records of both parties. Therefore, you’d want to bring in your attorney to help you prepare the best approach to defending yourself or winning compensation. In the event that a car crash results in a criminal or civil action, the behavior of each party before, during, and after the crash may factor in a judge’s decision. Likewise, with insurance companies, determining who is at fault will decide whether the damage to your vehicle is covered. Keep in mind that payment in damages refers to monetary awards, while compensation refers to payment in the event that there is wrongdoing. Your lawyer is the person who can help advocate on your behalf, putting you in a better light than the other driver would alone.

The most important thing is that you learn something from the experience. Discussion with your attorney will go deeper than the talks you had with your insurance company. Depending on the outcome of the trial, an attorney might have to show your strengths to a jury. How hard you work and why you weren’t as alert as you could have been. How far did you drive to care for your family and what stress was placed on your lap? In many cases, a car crash won’t be serious enough to warrant a lawyer having to speak on your behalf. But if you’re even slightly worried about liability, talking over the details will at least give you peace of mind.

Get Your Vehicle Repaired

The damage you sustain in a crash varies. A rear-end crash might cause damage to the rear windshield, rear bumpers, taillights, and exhaust pipe. A side collision can cause major damage to the doors and structure of the vehicle. Head-on collisions are among the worst collisions of all. In these cases, you can face internal damage to the engine and transmission.

An auto body repair shop will use advanced technology to repair your vehicle. Only by bringing your vehicle in for repair will you get an exact estimate on the damage. By then, hopefully, you’ll have resolved the matter with your insurance company.

For more serious crashes, the damage might be up to you to pay for. Either way, you can expect to be off the road for weeks unless you consider perusing the selections over at used car dealers. Sometimes, buying a used car might be a better choice than repairing your current vehicle with car collision repair services.

Recover from the Crash

From the moment of initial impact, you might have paid attention to the injury. The aches and burns. The numbness and tingling. Sometimes, the injuries from a crash will persist for months. Sometimes, you’ll be out of work and unable to enjoy much of life. The good news is, waiting to recover will see you better in the long run. Because it’s better for your injuries to heal properly. Broken bones or fractures require the bones to reset. Skin injuries must heal properly so they don’t get infected. And any injury to the head requires careful study from a medical professional to determine if there are injuries to the brain. Simply put, the injuries you experience might not be limited to those you know about immediately after the crash. Either way, the timeline for recovery depends on your ability to get some rest. If you’re able to walk okay, consider browsing some car parts stores while you’re at it.

After experiencing a car crash, you may simply be thankful you’re alive. The moments that passed before you were frightening. Yet you were fortunate enough to make it out okay. After calling 911 and exchanging information, you realized that the situation was salvageable, so long as you contact your attorney. The only thing stopping you now is a repaired vehicle and a recovered body. Aren’t you glad you knew what to do after a crash?