A car wreck will likely shake you up. The stress of knowing you were in an accident, the possibility of injuries and the concern about what is going to happen now can all come together to make a difficult situation even more complicated.
Even though your mind is probably reeling, there are some points that you do need to know.
Brushing up on these now might help you to remember them if you are ever in a crash.
- Call emergency services. This is required by law if there are injuries, death or significant damage to property. Having the police department send someone out will also result in a police report being filed.
- Get medical help. If you or anyone was injured, ask emergency services to send an ambulance. Even if the injuries are minor, the emergency medical technicians or paramedics who arrive on the scene can evaluate the situation to determine what’s going on.
- Gather information. You need the other driver’s name and license number, as well as their address and phone number. Get the contact information for all passengers, as well as for any witnesses. Remember to be polite since others involved in the crash might be just as upset as you.
- Document everything. Most cell phones have cameras on them. Use your camera to take pictures of the scene, the vehicles involved, and any injuries you or others may have. It is a good idea to use different angles to show what happened so that you can use the pictures as part of your case later.
- Take notes. As soon as possible after the wreck, you need to write down what you remember about it. This can help if you decide to file a claim for compensation. As you get medical care or notice things that you aren’t able to do any longer, make note of them. You can share these with your attorney to find out how they may impact your case.
- Speak carefully. Anything you say might be used in your case. With this in mind, be careful about how you say things. You don’t want anyone to think that you are taking the blame for the accident. Phrases like “I’m sorry this happened” can be construed as an admission of fault, so choose your words thoughtfully when you discuss the wreck.
Many different things can occur after a crash. You might be offered a settlement. Be wary of accepting the first offer since it might not be enough to cover your accident-related expenses. It is best to learn your options before you do anything, including signing any waivers presented by the insurance company.