What to Do After a Car Accident

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(Newswire.net — September 26, 2016) — Car accidents, regardless of severity, are always jarring. One minute you’re driving around minding your own business and the next your car is pinned up against another vehicle. And while it’s hard to remain calm immediately after an accident, it’s important that you know what to do and how to respond.

Here’s How You Should Respond

Most people will end up in a few minor car accidents over the course of their lives. Hopefully, you’ll never be in more than a fender bender, but if you find yourself in a compromising situation, here’s the proper way to respond.

1.      Check to Make Sure Everyone is Okay

The very first thing you should do after an accident is to check on yourself to make sure you’re okay. The adrenaline from the accident may numb the pain initially, so do a visual check for things like cuts, scrapes, and blood. Once you’re sure that you’re okay, check on any passengers in your vehicle. Finally, exit your vehicle and check on any individuals in other vehicles involved in the accident.

2.      Call 911

The next step is to call 911 and report the accident. If there are serious injuries, you should obviously start the call by requesting medical personnel come to the scene. Otherwise, you’ll just need to call for a police officer to be dispatched so that an official accident report can be filed.

3.      Protect the Integrity of the Scene

Depending on the severity and location of the accident, it may be in your best interest to move vehicles to a safe location nearby – such as a parking lot, driveway, or median. However, if the accident is complicated and there are injuries, you should instead maintain the integrity of the scene. A police officer will know what to do upon arrival. The last thing you want is to go compromise the accident scene as it plays a critically important role in insurance claims and legal proceedings.

4.      Document What Happened

It’s amazing how quickly after a car accident you can forget what happened. That’s why lawyers and insurance companies often suggest that you immediately document what happened. Instead of relying on your memory, pull out a pen and paper and start jotting down your thoughts – even drawing diagrams. If you have a camera handy, take pictures. All of this information can prove to be valuable.

5.      Report the Accident and Hire a Lawyer

After the police allow you to leave the scene of the accident, you need to contact your insurance company and file an accident report. This will get the ball rolling.

If you were hurt in the car accident – or believe you may have been wronged in some way – then it never hurts to hire a lawyer and explore your options. But even if you’re just trying to get money from your insurance company, an attorney can be a major help.

“After an auto accident, you have bigger things to worry about than navigating the complexities of a lawsuit,” Leifer Law Firm notes. “From missing work and running around to doctors’ appointments to spending time in the hospital and possibly even undergoing surgery, you do not have the time to deal with all of the legwork associated with an auto accident claim.”

Remain Calm and Be Vigilant

The most important thing you can do after a car accident is to remain calm. It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you, but it’s absolutely imperative that you stay as even-keeled as possible.

There’s nothing to be gained (and a lot to be lost) from losing your temper or breaking down. Take a deep breath and follow the steps highlighted in this article.