These days in the USA, around 43% of car crashes result in some form of injury. That means that your chances of being injured or injuring someone in a crash are only slightly lower than getting heads when flipping a coin, that’s a scary statistic.
Unfortunately, that’s only where the troubles start, as a car crash will almost certainly devolve into lengthy legal processes and medical fees. Taking the right steps after a car crash can greatly limit the civil troubles that follow. If you want to know more, read the following nine steps to take after a car crash.
1. Pull Yourself Together
In the few seconds following the car accident, your body is going to be flushed with adrenaline, suppressing many of your higher functions like critical thinking and even some motor control. It is not possible to get rid of the effects in their entirety, but taking a few deep breaths to calm yourself down will give you back some control.
However, this should only be done if neither you nor anyone in your vehicle has severe injuries or the vehicle’s state endangers you. In such cases, it’s important to treat wounds and get to safety before anything else.
The reason this step is here first is to give you enough control to control your talking. You’re going to need to be able to follow the next few steps without discussing your actions or what you saw immediately leading up to the accident.
Anything you say could end up having bad legal consequences. On the scene, only answer simple questions that relate to your health and only ask about the whereabouts and the safety of your passengers. You’ll still want to keep a detailed mental inventory of everything you see and hear as it may be important later.
2. Check for Bleeding
Sometimes shrapnel or sharp objects will pierce you and you won’t notice because of the adrenaline. With your hands, pat down different parts of your body and check to see if there’s blood after each different section. Start with the legs (there are huge arteries there), stomach, arms, and neck.
If you do see blood, ask someone to check the area for you. If it’s your inner thigh or stomach, have someone apply an improvised tourniquet and pressure respectively, and go lie down in wait for EMTs.
3. Get to Safety
Make sure you can get onto a safe piece of ground away from traffic, ledges, and burning cars. Note that this step is only important if there are present dangers as step five may seem to contradict this step. It is from this point of safety that you must first call emergency services (if you haven’t already) and then proceed with the next steps on the list.
4. Exchange Contact Details
Both parties to the car collision will need to be able to reach out to each other in the future. Politely as the other driver for their name and number or the name and number of their legal representative. Furnish them with the same information so that the matter can be adjudicated later if necessary.
If you don’t have legal representation, make sure that you find legal representation as soon as you think the matter will need lawyers.
5. Start Taking Photos
If you can, whip out your smartphone and take photos of as much of the auto accident as you can. You’re going to need interior and exterior shots of all the vehicles from as many angles as possible for evidence in any future legal disputes that may occur.
You can use a note app to record any memories, the names of people, your location, and other information as well. Just make sure that you gather all these details quietly so that you don’t risk accidentally admitting guilt (especially if you aren’t guilty).
6. Go With the EMTs
No American likes to hear this but you must go with the emergency services after a crash even if you feel fine. There are many cases of crashes dislodging clots, causing internal bleeds, and inflicting latent brain injuries but the people involved felt fine on the scene. Go to the hospital they take you to (or your hospital, if you have that choice) and get checked out by the doctor immediately.
7. Call Your Insurance Company
Car insurance is a wonderful thing, as some coverage plans will be able to help you with medical bills as well. When you’ve got a safe moment at the hospital or at home to phone your insurance company and check how to file your claim, do it. This is going to help you bounce back as quickly as possible.
8. Call Your Lawyer
Lawyers have become necessary in some car crash scenarios. The one that’s most detrimental to you is if you were in the wrong (speeding, texting, driving recklessly, etc.) because you may need to defend yourself against civil and even criminal charges.
However, a good lawyer is necessary even when the other driver is at fault or (on those rare occasions) when there’s no fault. They will help you file the right papers, make the right statements, and advise you on how to deal with the matter further. Very few car crashes ever go to an actual trial, but if yours does then you’ll be thankful to your lawyer.
9. Post-Car Crash Process
The days and weeks following an auto accident can be uncomfortable on many levels. You may need medical or psychological treatment and will have to adjust to a strange new car.
During this time, the other driver, their lawyer, or their insurance company may try to phone you to trick you into admitting guilt. Calmly redirect these sorts of phone calls to your lawyer, as your opponent doesn’t have an actual right to get such information from you.
Put Yourself in the Best Legal Position
The best accident advice is to drive carefully and vigilantly so that you never get into one, but accidents still happen. Still, being careful, vigilant, and obedient to the law will help you navigate what happens after your crash in the most hassle-free manner.
If you suffer a car crash, first check for immediate dangers, then gather info and evidence and make sure to get to a hospital promptly. Do this all calmly and quietly and save car crash discussions for your lawyer and insurance provider.
These steps could be life, time, and cost-saving for you one day. For more helpful tips, check out our lifestyle and business blogs today.