The U.S. has the most deaths from road crashes in high-income countries (about 50% more than Western Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan). Car accidents are common, with more than 36,000 people dying and over 2.7 million injured in 2019 (NHTSA). For reasons like these, you should probably know how to handle a car collision. Here’s a quick overview:
1. Seek Out Medical Attention
You should go to a hospital if there’s even a chance that you’ve been injured. Your injuries might appear minor at first but turn into something serious later on. This also helps your case if you’re planning on suing anyone in an accident. Doctors can confirm both how severe your injuries are and whether they were sustained during the crash. If there’s no way for you to visit a doctor yourself (being hurt too badly or in shock), have someone else do it for you.
2. Document Everything
The key issue when dealing with an accident is documentation. Both you and the other party should take pictures of:
Damage to your car (or any cars involved). Get close-up shots of all areas that were damaged and a full view of all sides damage to other vehicles or property—also, document injuries incurred by anyone in the accident.
You don’t want to leave this vital evidence out. Your injuries could be debilitating or even fatal; neither will do you any good if they’re not documented. This helps you and your car accident lawyers and also gives you credibility and support for any future claims against the responsible parties. Take pictures of everything, from cuts and scrapes to broken limbs. Specifics are key – you want to highlight the severity of the injury, so don’t forget details such as swelling and bruising.
3. Get Everyone’s Information
If you’re in an accident with another person, their insurance will be responsible for paying for physical damage and injuries. You should get both parties’ names and contact information; just having a license plate number isn’t enough. It also helps to know the other party’s insurance company, policy numbers, etc., as it makes them more accountable if they refuse to pay up later on.
4. Report the Accident
There’s no way around this – if you get into an accident, call the police. Even if you’re not hurt and can’t find any damage to your car, don’t hesitate to report it anyway – both for your sake later on as well as other people who might be affected by the accident. You can even tell what happened, though there’s no obligation to do so. If nothing else, at least a report will give you something to work with when filling out your own insurance claims if there are any disputes later down the road which happens more often than you’d think.
5. Call Your Car Accident Lawyers
This is one of the most important actions you can take after an accident. Your car accident lawyers can help you sort through all the complications that arise from an auto collision. If you’re left with injuries or property damage, you’ll need to deal with insurance companies and medical bills; they’ll also give useful advice during any legal proceedings. Remember that if you get into a car accident, things might change dramatically down the road – especially if your injuries are severe or fatal. You don’t want to be caught off-guard by something so important.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you’ve called the police, you or your car accident lawyers should also contact your insurance company. There’s no need for them to find out about it from anyone else. Again, this gives you more credibility and support later on, especially when it comes time to file an injury claim or lawsuit.
Car accidents are always a major hassle. If you’re in one, make sure to do everything you can to document the situation and act accordingly. Thankfully, with the help of your automobile accident lawyer, it is a lot easier.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident and are wondering what your next steps should be, please feel free to give us a call for a free consultation with our experienced car crash lawyers in Atlanta.