It is normal to feel shaken up, shocked, and scared in the moments after a car accident. Taking a deep breath and being prepared can help lessen your stress and anxiety in those moments.
Let’s face it, after an auto accident, you will have a lot on your plate. Having a plan of action can be crucial to a smooth recovery.
Below we discuss what to do after a car accident in five steps. Keep in mind; every situation is unique.
What to Do After a Car Accident: Five Steps
If you are in a motor vehicle collision, there are several steps you should immediately take. Some may be obvious, while others are less apparent but equally important.
It almost goes without saying that you should immediately call 911 after a car accident. Even if you do not think you are severely injured, it is still crucial to call 911 to have emergency personnel respond.
Not only will paramedics respond, but the police will help safely clear the road, assist with rendering medical aid, conduct a crash investigation, and create a police report.
No matter the extent of your injuries, you should be seen by a doctor. Often symptoms and injuries manifest or worsen over time.
Being checked out by a doctor immediately after a crash can help catch and treat injuries early.
Gather Information and Document the Scene
If physically able and safely possible, you should try to document the scene and gather as much information as you can, including:
- Take pictures and videos with your phone of the scene,
- Get the other driver’s information.
- Speaking with eyewitnesses and obtaining their contact information, and
- Note red light cams and other surveillance videos.
Making a written note of what happened while it is still fresh in your mind is also a good idea. Simply jotting down what you can remember from right before, during, and after the crash can be helpful later (i.e., noting road conditions, where your car was located, etc.).
Notify Your Insurance Company
After any car accident, you must notify your insurance company immediately. When you let them know you were involved in an accident, they will typically ask if you were injured and inquire about any damage to your vehicle.
You may be asked to give a recorded statement to your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.
However, you should always speak with an attorney before providing a recorded statement. You mustn’t say anything that may indicate you were even partially at fault.
Stay Off Social Media
One often overlooked but vital tip to follow after a motor vehicle accident is to stay off social media. Avoid posting pictures, videos, status updates, and comments after you are involved in a crash.
Insurance companies will look to your social media accounts to try and dispute your claim and downplay the extent of your injuries. Posting about the accident or your injuries may seem harmless, but it can harm your case.
Our tip for staying off social media goes beyond the immediate moments following the crash.
You must be careful what you post and share on social media if you are considering filing a legal claim or have one pending.
Consult with an Auto Accident Lawyer
After an auto accident, consulting with a car accident attorney for advice, guidance, and representation is a good idea.
A knowledgeable lawyer can guide you on the best course of action for your situation and circumstances.
Should you choose to pursue legal action, a car accident attorney knows just what to do to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
You are not required to hire an attorney after a car accident, even if you choose to pursue a civil lawsuit. However, we always recommend hiring an attorney as soon as possible.
The repercussions of a car wreck can stretch far and wide, and insurance claims and litigation can be complicated and complex.
In addition, you generally have only three years from the accident date to pursue legal action.
It might sound like three years is a long time, but if you are recovering from severe injuries, juggling medical appointments, and keeping up with daily life, three years can slip away quickly. By speaking to an attorney early on, you are ensuring you preserve your legal rights.
Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina
We promise to stand by you every step of the way, from negotiating with insurance adjusters to litigating at trial; we will be advocating for you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.