According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there were 6,756,000 car accidents in the United States in 2019—the last year for which statistics are available as of this article. You read that right. Almost 7 million car accidents occurred across the country. That means that tens of millions of people are involved in car accidents on a yearly basis. While any one person is statistically unlikely to be involved in a car accident or worse, suffer a car accident injury, it’s not as unlikely as it may seem. Do you know what to do after a car accident? Make sure you’re prepared and know how to protect yourself by following these 7 simple steps to take after being in a car accident:
Step 1: Check for Injuries
Unfortunately, car accidents often result in serious injuries, and worse yet, fatal injuries. Your health and safety always comes first. That’s why if you’re in a car accident, the first steps to take after being in a car accident is to check whether you have suffered any injuries. If you have suffered a serious car accident injury—such as a brain injury or spinal cord injury —the best thing you can do is stay in place and wait for medical attention.
If you haven’t suffered an injury or suffered a less-serious injury, such as minor whiplash, you should next check on any other passengers in the car. Again, if you think there’s any chance a passenger has suffered a serious or life-threatening injury, the best thing to do is to keep the person as motionless as possible and wait for emergency medical treatment.
Remember, always check on yourself first and any other passengers second. If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone else.
Step 2: Move to Safety (if Possible)
After checking yourself and any passengers for injuries, make sure you move to a safe location as soon as possible. Of course, that means moving off of the road. However, make sure you move a safe distance off of the road. Don’t assume that other drivers will see the car accident in the road or any debris. Other drivers may see the accident at the last minute and swerve off of the road to avoid it. This is especially true during times of bad weather (rain, sleet, snow, etc.) and at when it’s dark.
Step 3: Call 911
As soon as you’re in a safe location, call 911. That’s regardless of whether you’ve suffered a car accident injury or whether anyone else has. You might not know whether you’ve suffered an injury or the extent of your injuries in the immediate aftermath of a car accident. Moreover, the car accident itself may pose a serious danger to oncoming traffic. Lastly, if you’re involved in a multi-vehicle accident, you don’t know if anyone else involved in the accident may pose a threat to you. It’s always better to be safe than to be sorry. Make sure you call 911. This is one of the most important steps to take after being in a car accident.
Step 4: Photograph the Car Accident and any Injuries
Once you’re waiting for emergency services to arrive, it’s a good idea to document the car accident. What does that mean? Make sure to take pictures of the accident from many different angles and perspectives. Make sure to get pictures of all cars, trucks, or other vehicles in the accident. Take pictures of any skid marks on the road or any traffic signs that may have played a role in the accident. If you’ve suffered any injuries, including any scrapes, bruises, and cuts, make sure to take pictures of those as well. These pictures can be invaluable in proving that someone else was at fault for the accident and not you. Of course, you should not place yourself in harm’s way to document the accident. Only take pictures from a safe place and in a safe manner.
Step 5: Obtain Other Drivers’ and Witnesses Information
It goes without saying that you’ll want to gather information about any other person involved in the car accident. If possible, take pictures of driver’s licenses, registrations, and insurance information. If you are unable to or cannot do so safely, write down this information so you don’t have to rely on your memory.
Are there any witnesses to the crash? If so, it is also important to gather their contact information—name, address, and phone number. It’s also a good idea to write down anything they may say about the accident. For example, if a witness tells you that he saw the other driver run the red light or was texting while driving , make a note of that. You can do so on paper or make a note on your phone. Again, you don’t want to have to rely on your memory in the aftermath of an accident. Following these steps after being in a car accident will help you in the days following the accident.
Step 6: Seek Medical Attention
If you have suffered what you believe to be a less-serious injury, such as whiplash, you should still seek medical attention as soon as reasonably possible in order to rule out more serious injuries and to document the extent of your injury. Some car accident injures, like concussions, are not immediately felt, and if left untreated, could pose serious complications. Even if for nothing more than peace of mind, make sure you seek medical treatment to document the extent of any of your injuries or to make sure that you haven’t suffered any.
Step 7: Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
If you’re injured in a car accident, it’s vitally important that you contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Why? The best car accident attorneys will take immediate action to safeguard evidence in your case and protect your rights. Even more, a car accident lawyer will deal with the insurance companies so you don’t have to. Recovering from a car accident can be a long and difficult process full of anxiety and stress. A knowledgeable and skilled car accident lawyer will alleviate you of that anxiety and stress so you can focus on your recovery.
The car accident lawyers at GKT have over 80 years of combined experience representing people injured in car accidents. All of our consultations are free and without obligation. Our car accident lawyers never charge any upfront costs and only collect a fee if we make a recovery on your behalf. You can learn more about West Virginia car accident lawyer Chris Turak and Ohio car accident lawyer Teena Miller by clicking on their names. Contact GKT’s car accident lawyers today online, by Live Chat, or by phone at (304) 845-9750.