Being involved in a car accident is everyone’s worst nightmare. In addition to being a scary, potentially harmful situation, car accidents can waste precious time and money for everyone involved when it comes to dealing with the aftermath. If you’ve just been involved in a car accident, here are the first steps you should take immediately following the accident to help alleviate some future stress.
Ensure the Wellbeing of all Involved Parties
It may seem obvious that this would be the first thing most people would do after an accident, but in reality it may take some time for everyone to understand what has just happened immediately following an accident. The first priority should always be to ensure everyone is medically stable and if not, call or have someone else call emergency medical services.
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Call the Police
Once you are able to ensure that everyone is safe or to contact emergency services for those needing care, the next step is to always call the police. Even though it may seem unnecessary when dealing with a small fender bender or other accident with minimal damage, calling the police provides protection for both the person who caused the accident as well as the victim. “They can help direct traffic to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. They’ll also put together a report which will help determine fault in the accident,” says The Barnes Firm Injury Attorneys, a Bronx car accident lawyer. Many times, injuries or excessive costs for damages occur well after the accident is over and forgotten and having police records ensures that all sides of the story are documented clearly.
Move Your Car to a Safe Location
Once the police are on the scene, they may assist you in moving your vehicle to a safe location to ensure no one else is injured during the note taking and clean up process. If the vehicle is unable to be driven due to damages, the police can assist with coordinating a two truck and/or clean up crews as needed.
Take Notes on What Happened
Although the police officers on scene will record a detailed summary of the event from all parties involved, it’s always recommended that you take your own notes just after the accident before any details are forgotten or overlooked. Additionally, asking for a copy of the police report may be helpful to relay your story to the insurance company or back up your story in court later on if needed. You might also need the help of a car accident attorney bend oregon.
Everyone has easy access to smartphones and camera devices these days and although taking photos will likely be part of the police officer’s report, it can’t hurt to have more than one copy. While taking notes, it’s a good idea to snap a few photos capturing multiple angles of all cars involved in the accident to document the damages at the exact time that the accident occured. Make sure photos are always saved to an external source like a hard drive or online photo storage service in case your phone breaks or goes missing.
Schedule a Check Up
Even if you are not experiencing any pain directly after being involved in an automobile accident, injuries can appear days, weeks, or even months following the accident. Additionally, people involved in accidents may have internal injuries that need to be addressed quickly otherwise they may cause more serious issues down the road. For accident victims seeking monetary compensation from their insurance company, having a physical exam completed may be required by the insurance company as part of a claim.
Call Your Insurance Company
It’s safe to assume that your insurance company has already heard about the accident by the time you call and filing a police report often alerts car insurance companies so that they can be expecting a follow up conversation. Whether you were the victim in an accident or the party at fault, it’s always a good idea to check in with an insurance representative to see if you may be entitled to compensate for lost wages, physical injuries, or vehicle damages.
Although car accidents create a huge inconvenience, they are often part of everyday life. While we all hope to never be involved in a serious accident, making sure to cover all bases when it comes to medical care, proper documentation, and follow up care can help avoid more serious complications in the future. If you find yourself involved in a car accident, make sure you utilize these steps to stay safe.