Car accidents are sudden traumatic experiences that can leave you wondering what to do next. You might feel helpless if you or your loved ones were severely injured. However, you can take steps immediately after a crash and in the days following the wreck. These actions can help you move forward with life after a car accident and get the compensation you need from insurance companies.
Steps to Take Immediately After the Crash
Immediately after a car accident, it can be hard to know what to do. You might not be able to do much if you suffered severe injuries. The following steps ensure you get the help you need and support your car insurance claim.
The first step you should take after a crash is to call 911. You should request a police officer as well as an ambulance. The officer can complete an accident report that will help you determine what happened to cause the accident and who is at fault.
Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, allow first responders to evaluate you. The EMTs can help you decide if you need transport to the emergency room.
Go to the ER or Get Medical Treatment
You should go to the ER immediately if you have any injuries. They can assess your condition and create a medical report that will be evidence of the severity of your injuries.
Even if you don’t get immediate medical treatment, you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash, can take days or weeks to show up.
Take Photos and Videos of the Scene
If you can move around the scene after the crash, take pictures and videos with your phone. Include images of damage to cars, marks on the road, signs, traffic lights and cameras, weather conditions, and anything else that may be relevant. You should also take a video of the entire scene of the accident.
Gather Information from the Other Driver
You will need to get the other driver’s name and contact information. You can easily do this by photographing their driver’s license. If they are reluctant to let you see their driver’s license, remind them that the information will be on the police report.
Ask to see the other driver’s insurance card as well. Take a picture of the front and back of the insurance card. Ask them to text you a screenshot if they only have a digital card. Ensure you can clearly see the insurance company’s policy number and relevant phone numbers.
Talk to Witnesses
If you can, you should approach anyone who saw what happened immediately before, during, and after the crash. These witnesses can provide valuable information when you file a car accident insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Ask all witnesses and passengers of cars involved in the crash for contact information. You should also take a picture of them and note their name. If their contact information doesn’t work later, you may be able to find them in other ways.
Steps to Take in the Days Following the Wreck
Once you return home after the car accident, you will likely need some time to relax. However, some steps you can take in the days and weeks following the wreck will benefit your insurance claim. You should bring all this information to your initial consultation with your car accident lawyer.
You will be inundated with information after a crash. However, it’s essential to keep copies of all documents you receive.
Some of the documents you should collect include:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Statements about time off work
- Pay stubs
- Work records about benefits used
- Health insurance documents
- Police or accident report
- Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses
- Estimates for car repairs
Attend All Follow-Up Medical Appointments
It’s essential to continue seeing your doctor, physical therapists, and specialists as recommended by the ER or your PCP. If you fail to attend follow-up medical appointments, the insurance company may not take your injuries seriously. They may try to claim that you are not seriously injured and deny your claim.
Journal Your Injuries
You should keep a post-accident or pain journal that documents all your symptoms and how they affect your life. You can also write down your prescriptions, side effects, and their costs. Make a note of all doctors you see and their diagnoses for your injuries.
Your loved ones can also document how your injuries affect their lives. Your spouse and children may be losing out on time with you. You may be unable to complete household duties that you once took on alone. A car accident can affect everyone in your life.
Photograph Your Injuries
Many injuries, such as bruises and burns, can worsen over time. You should take photos of your injuries at the scene of the accident and periodically after. If your injuries change frequently, you can even document their daily appearance. Information about your injuries and descriptions of the pictures can be logged in your post-accident journal.
Communication with the Insurance Company
Do not make a statement to the insurance company. You may be required to notify your insurance company of an accident within 24 to 48 hours. However, you shouldn’t even give an in-depth interview to your agent. All insurance companies are in business to make money. They will do everything possible to deny or minimize your claim. Allow your car accident lawyer to handle all communication with the insurance companies to protect your rights.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
One of the most critical steps after a crash is to call a car accident lawyer with experience with cases like yours. Your attorney will know Michigan laws and understand how to apply them to your lawsuit. They can help you prove the other driver is at fault and get you the most compensation possible to cover your damages.
Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC Is Here to Help You
Our legal team at Davis Injury Lawyers, PLLC, is ready to guide you through the legal process after a severe car accident. We know that the entire situation can seem overwhelming. Your best option is to work with a lawyer who will stand by your side and protect your best interests.