What to Do After a Car Accident

In West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, thousands of people are injured in car accidents each year.  Whether on I-70, Route 2 in West Virginia, Route 7 in Ohio, or somewhere in between, many of those car accident injuries happen in the Ohio Valley.  Make sure you know what to do after a car accident if you happen to suffer an injury as a result of a car crash. 

Immediately After the Accident

First things first—protect yourself!  Make sure you are safe and remove yourself from any danger.  For example, if you’ve been in a car accident on a busy road or highway, if you can safely, make sure you get yourself and your vehicle out of the road. 


If you’ve been in a car accident, the overwhelming likelihood is that you’ve suffered some sort of an injury, whether it be minor or serious.  If you’ve been injured in the accident, make sure you immediately seek medical assistance.  If it’s an emergency, call 911.  If it’s not an emergency, make sure you seek medical assistance as soon as possible.  This is a good idea even if you think you only “got banged up” or suffered from whiplash. 

The extent and severity of many car accident injuries are not immediately felt

Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you don’t have a serious injury that needs immediate medical attention.  Some injuries don’t show themselves for a couple of days or more after the accident.  If for nothing else than peace of mind, make sure you seek medical attention as soon as possible.  Don’t forget about any passengers or the people in the other car.  If you can, check for injuries and make sure they’re not in any immediate danger. 

This not only ensures that you obtain the medical attention you need, it also ensures that your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company pays your medical bills, property damage to your car, etc.  They will require proof that the injury occurred as a result of the car accident.  Any delay in seeking medical attention could be used as evidence that the injury was not caused by the car accident. 

Not Injured?

after a car accident, take pictures of dents

In the fortunate event that you have not suffered any injuries (which is a rare occurrence), make sure you still call the police.  A police report of the accident can be crucial to obtaining compensation from the insurance company, especially if you’re not at fault and the other driver is. 

Document the Accident

 If you can, make sure you take notes about the car accident and the circumstances surrounding it.  What was the location?  What was the weather like?  What is the make and model of the other car?  Is the car owned by an individual or a business?  Do you believe that alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident? 

Obtain Information

Again, if you can, make sure you obtain as much information as you can from other people. Talk to the other driver and obtain their contact and insurance information.  Talk to any witnesses and obtain their contact information.  Did anyone take blame for the accident or state what they believed to be the cause of the accident?  Of course, talking to the other driver and witnesses isn’t always possible.  And, if you think there may be a confrontation with the other driver, error on the side of caution and wait for the police. 

Take Photos!

Car Insurance Attorney pointing at car

Nowadays, nearly everyone has a smartphone that can take pictures.  If you can safely do so, take pictures of the cars, trucks, or other vehicles in the crash.  Also, take pictures of license plates and driver’s licenses (of the other driver, if possible, and witnesses).  Take pictures of any skid marks, roadway signs, stop lights, etc.  The pictures will show the specific conditions on that day, so don’t think that you can always come back and take pictures at some later date. 

In the Days Following the Car Accident

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Contacting a car accident attorney within days after an accident is important in order to protect your claim, especially if you were injured in the accident.  The sooner you contact an attorney, the better.  Your attorney will need to investigate the accident and begin to secure the necessary evidence to support your claim.  This includes talking to the investigating police officer and any witnesses to the crash.  The longer you wait, the more likely evidence will be lost and witnesses become more difficult to locate.  In addition, it is a daunting task for injured parties to fight with insurance companies while trying to recover from injuries.  Let an experienced car accident lawyer, like the ones at GKT, take the burden off of your shoulders.  At GKT, we know how to maximize the compensation due to you.  This could include compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Diminished quality of life of you or a loved one
  • Aggravation, annoyance, and inconvenience
  • Punitive damages

Contact Your Insurance Company!

As soon as you’re able to, make sure you contact your insurance company to report the crash.  That could be the day of the accident or several days (or weeks) later if you’ve suffered catastrophic or life-threatening injuries.  Some insurance companies have strict time periods that you have to contact them to report a car accident claim.  Don’t delay in doing this or it could mean that you’re unable to make a claim. 

Do NOT Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company!

As I wrote in a previous blog, nothing good can come from talking to the other driver’s insurance company.  Their goal is to avoid paying on a claim or minimize the amount they have to pay on a claim.  Therefore, they will seek to obtain information that can be used against you.  This is true even if you think it is crystal clear that you did not cause the car crash.  Just politely decline to answer any questions or discuss the car crash.  Remember, when talking to the other driver’s insurance company, “anything you say can and will be used against you”!

Continue with any Medical Appointments/Treatment!

If you have any follow-up medical appointments or treatments, it is crucial that you continue to go to those appointments.  Of course, this is good advice to ensure that you return to good health as quickly as possible.  However, it is also good advice to make sure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.  If you miss appointments or skip treatments, it may be claimed that you have not truly suffered an injury or suffered a less severe injury.  That will undoubtedly impact your ability to obtain the compensation you deserve. 

In the Weeks Following the Car Accident

Continue with any Medical Appointments/Treatment! 

Some car accident injuries require weeks, months, or even years of treatment.  Keep going even if you think that you’re healed.   Again, failure to continue treatment can be used against you and limit your financial recovery. 

GKT Car Accident Attorney

GKT is a personal injury law firm that has represented people in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania who have been injured in car accidents and crashes since 1978.  Our personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of making sure our clients receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries.  The results speak for themselves. 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or crash, call GKT today at (304) 845-9750 or live chat with a representative 24/7 at GKT.com.  We offer free, no-obligation consultations for car accidents, and any other personal injury or wrongful death claims.  Home, weekend, and evening appointments are available for your convenience.