Being unexpectedly involved in a motor vehicle collision can be a jarring experience. It is common for car accident victims to be uncertain of what they should do in the immediate aftermath. If you are involved in a crash that was caused by another driver, don’t panic. Follow the steps below if you’re wondering what to do after an auto accident.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
Immediately after an accident, you may experience a surge of adrenaline and feel unsure about how to handle it. For this reason, you should keep the list below in your vehicle’s glove compartment. If you are in an accident, just pull out the list and follow the steps to help preserve your rights and the likelihood that you will be able to recover compensation.
Remain at the Scene
After an accident, you should stay at the scene until help arrives. If you leave the scene of an accident, you may face criminal charges. Under Ark. Code §§ 27-53-101 et. seq., motorists are required to stop at the scene of accidents that involve property damage, injuries, or fatalities. They must exchange information, render aid to injured people, and wait for law enforcement officers to arrive. If they leave, they can be charged with a class D felony and face imprisonment for up to six years. Under Okla. Stat. §§ 47-10-102 et seq., motorists in Oklahoma are likewise supposed to remain at the scene and to render aid or face criminal penalties and potential imprisonment.
Check Yourself and Others for Injuries
Before anything else happens, check yourself and others for injuries. If someone is injured, provide them with first aid. You should avoid moving injured people unless it is necessary to protect them from danger. Moving people who have suffered injuries to their backs, spines, or bones can exacerbate their injuries.
Whenever you are in a car accident with another motorist that caused property damage, injuries, or deaths, you should call 911. Be prepared to provide information about the location where you are so that emergency responders are able to find you quickly. If someone is injured, be sure to tell the 911 operator. They may provide further instructions regarding what to do after an auto accident regarding your medical care and safety.
Under the law, you are required to exchange information with the other driver. You must give the other driver your name, contact information, insurance information, and your vehicle’s registration number. Make certain to get all of this information from the other driver while you are both at the scene. If you can, take photographs of the other driver’s insurance card, driver’s license, registration, license plate, and car make and model.
If you’re wondering what to do after an auto accident, don’t forget about taking photographs. Although it’s unlikely you’ll have a camera in the car with you, most drivers carry a cell phone that is able to take photos. If you are able to do so, take photos of both vehicles, the damage to each, and the scene. In addition, take pictures of any road debris, skid marks, traffic control devices, speed limit signs, and other relevant details. These pictures of the accident may prove to be important pieces of evidence that help prove your claim.
Get the Contact Information of Witnesses
If any people saw your accident, encourage them to stay and to talk to the police. Get their names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses if possible. Your attorney may then contact these witnesses to get statements while he or she is investigating your claim. Like photographs, witness statements are important types of evidence that can help to bolster your claim and convince insurance companies that they should settle with you.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s a common phenomenon that people involved in auto collisions don’t realize they have been injured during the immediate aftermath. You may not notice the symptoms of some types of injuries such as whiplash, soft tissue injuries, and internal injuries for several hours or days.
If you are unsure whether you have been injured, do not tell a responding officer or another motorist that you are unhurt. Instead, say that you want to see your doctor. Then, schedule a prompt appointment with your doctor for a thorough medical examination. Receiving prompt medical attention can help you recover faster if you have been injured. If you don’t go to the doctor or wait until days or weeks have passed, the insurance company is likely to blame your injuries on an intervening event. Waiting to get treatment can make it difficult for you to win your claim.
Contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook
After you have sought and received medical treatment for your injuries but before you contact the insurance company, you should contact the Law Offices of Craig L. Cook. Getting legal help soon after your accident can help your attorney investigate your case more thoroughly, find witnesses, and preserve evidence that might otherwise be lost. Reach out to us today for a free and confidential claim evaluation. We’ll help you better understand what to do after an auto accident.