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What to Do Right After a Car Accident

This news story was published on June 20, 2019.
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Car accidents are never fun, and getting into one is a stressful experience to say the least. If you’ve never been involved in an accident, the entire process can be overwhelming and scary, and leave you feeling uncertain of what to do next. Here are some tips on what to do right after you’ve been in a car accident.

Remain calm

This might be the hardest part, but staying calm and collected is crucial. Panicking will only make the situation worse so do your best to keep a level head. Staying calm will help you remember more details and properly assess the situation in case you, anyone in your vehicle, or anyone in the other vehicle was injured in the accident. You will be grateful for this information when it comes time to speak to an officer, file an insurance claim, or speak to a lawyer.

Contact the police

The first step you should do is to call 911 and speak to the police. See if anyone is injured or trapped and needs immediate help from paramedics so you can tell the dispatcher to send an ambulance or the fire department with the jaws of life. Unless you’re blocking traffic or in a dangerous spot—in which case you should move your vehicle out of the way—keep everything exactly as it is, so when the responding officers arrive they can see precisely what happened and can do a proper assessment of the incident.

Record everything

Document as much as you can. Write down as much information as you can gather from all parties involved, including:

  • The driver’s name and contact information
  • The names and contact information of any passengers
  • The names and contact information of any witnesses
  • License plate numbers
  • Insurance information
  • Time and location of the accident
  • Badge numbers of responding police officers

Also, take as many photos as you can of the damage at the scene. If you have to move your vehicle out of the way, take photos of it and the whole scene first, in case you need to dispute a claim and need physical proof. Documenting everything will be a big help for you when it comes time to filing an insurance claim or dealing with potential lawsuits. Save yourself the headache and stress and get as much information written down or photographed as possible.

File your insurance claim and lawsuit, if necessary

Insurance companies only give you a window of 72 hours to file a claim, so don’t wait to open up an insurance claim with your provider. The last thing you want after going through this whole ordeal is to be denied help or compensation, so even though it can be a tedious process, it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Furthermore, if you need to file a lawsuit for personal injury claims or the like, act quickly on it as well. Speaking to a personal injury attorney can give you insight on what you’re entitled to, so consider it as part of the post-accident process.

Go to the doctor

Even if you aren’t in pain immediately after the incident, residual pain can arise shortly after the scene has cleared up and everyone has gone their separate ways, so it’s a good idea to visit the doctor for a quick check-up to make sure everything is alright. As briefly mentioned above, it is recommended that you don’t wait any longer than 72 hours after the accident, since insurance companies deem 72 hours to be a reasonable amount of time, and anything after that can lead to the denial of a claim. If your claim is denied, you could be missing out on any deserved compensation, so don’t put off that doctor’s visit.

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