If you haven’t been in a car accident yet, consider yourself lucky – or just overdue. It’s estimated that every American will be in a car accident at least once in their life. Industry experts calculate that the average driver files a claim for a car wreck about every 18 years. Car accidents are the leading cause of unintentional injury and death in the United States.

Some of the top reasons for these fatalities include erratic driving, drunk driving, distracted driving or texting behind the wheel. Following an accident, you might be in shock – even if it’s just a minor fender bender. Knowing the steps to follow after an accident can help you keep a level head and ensure you and your family is safe from danger.

Seek Medical Treatment

The most important step following a car crash is ensuring the safety of you and your passengers. Proceed with caution following an accident, even minor collisions can lead to serious injuries that may require hospitalization and surgery. It’s recommended that even if you don’t feel any pain, you get out of your vehicle and inspect yourself and others. If you’re hurting, even a little, seek help from a licensed medical professional. Documentation of your injuries can be a crucial part of filing a car accident claim. 

If you were seriously injured by someone in a car accident, chances are you will have expensive medical bills. The next step would be to file a claim with your insurance company and the at-fault parties insurance company. If you sustained serious damages in the accident, hire a lawyer early to avoid costly mistakes. Experts suggest contacting an attorney within a week or two following your accident. In this case, consider hiring the best car accident attorney you can find. They will be able to help you fight for lost wages, damages to your car and medical expenses.

Call The Police

Having a police officer on the scene following any car accident is beneficial because they can help gather important information from all parties involved. Filing an accident report with the police can be beneficial to insurance companies and can ensure that at-fault party will not deny any events that took place. According to the Columbus car accident attorneys at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd, police reports can be valuable in a car accident claim, but it’s important to remember they are not always admissible in the court of law. This is because they often contain subjective information – in other words, what a police officer thinks happened in a car accident. Your attorney will conduct their own forensic investigation to present evidence that will be admissible in court, should litigation become necessary.

Take Photos

Photos and videos are very important elements that can help insurance companies prove fault in a car accident. If you’re injured and are unable to take photos at the scene, have a family member or friend take them on your behalf. Otherwise, damages on your car or skid marks can be taken at a later date.

Following the accident, make sure you photograph every element and detail possible including:

  • License plate numbers
  • Nearby street signs and surrounding scene
  • Property damage
  • Witnesses, the other driver, and even police.
  • Important details (registration details, insurance information, make and model of their car)
  • Shoot from multiple angles
  • Capture road conditions

Collect Important Information

  1. Names and addresses, emails and phone numbers with all involved
  2. Drivers license information and plate information
  3. Car insurance information
  4. Gather all contact information for all eyewitnesses to the accident

Stay on the Scene & Stay Calm

The only real-time you should leave the scene is if you or someone in your car was injured. If emergency treatment is necessary, leave in an ambulance. If you or a passenger is not in need of emergency medical care, it’s important you remain at the scene of the accident in order to create confusion.

Leaving the scene of the crash can lead to serious criminal penalties for being a “hit and run” driver. If the driver that hit you left the scene, there are important steps to take after a hit-and-run accident. While injuries may be severe and emotions high, it’s crucial to remain calm in order to ensure maximum safety for you and your loved ones after a car crash.