What to do After a Car Accident
After a car accident, it can be hard to keep your thoughts straight and your actions rational. Adrenaline is pumping through your body, your mind is going in a million different directions and there is an incredible amount of stimulus to take in. Going through the trauma of a car accident can be a lot easier to manage if you take a few simple precautions and know what to do once an accident has occurred.
Before you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to do is simply be prepared. Keep information with you that notes relevant medical information for you and frequent passengers of your car. In the event of an emergency, everything anyone would need to know is documented and handy. In addition, keep a small notepad and a pencil (pen ink may freeze in the winter) in your glove compartment to take down any pertinent information at the accident scene.
Though your gut reaction may be to panic, the most important thing you can do after a car accident is stay calm, focused and attentive. First, check for injuries. If in doubt, call an ambulance. Your safety and health should be your top priority.
If you’ve had a relatively minor accident, move the cars to a safe place out of traffic to prevent any further crashes. Call the police to document the accident, even if it appears minor. It is important that every step of the crash is documented in case you need to make insurance claims or resolve any problems in court.
At the scene of the accident, don’t sign any documents unless they are for the police or your insurance agent. Take note of everything about the accident—who saw it (get their contact information), what specifically happened, what damage occurred to each vehicle, any specifics about the road or environmental conditions, etc.
When asked about the accident, state only the facts. Don’t tell anyone that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. Talk only to the police and your insurance agent. Stay at the scene of the accident as long as possible, and try not to leave before the police and the other drivers do. It’s important to know what happens from the time the accident happens to the time it clears.
Once the accident is behind you, it’s time to take care of yourself. Even if you’ve only been in a fender bender, you may have sustained injuries such as whiplash and back strain without even realizing it. Make an appointment to see your chiropractor and doctor right away because not discovering any minor injuries can have serious long-term effects on your health.
If you don’t see a doctor immediately after your accident and you are injured, your insurance company will want to know why you waited so long, It will argue that the injury wasn’t all that severe even if symptoms don’t show up for a few days afterward. The more time between an accident and a doctor’s visit, the easier it will be for the insurance company to separate the injury from your car crash. This can become very costly, so do yourself a financial—and wellness—favor by making it a priority to seek medical attention after your car accident.
Certainly no one ever hopes or thinks they’ll be in a car accident, but preparing for the possible will make it a lot easier to deal with if you ever are in a crash. Keep cool, document what happened and take care of yourself, and you’ll be back on the road before you know it.