A car accident, even a minor one, is a jarring experience. After a crash, you’re likely disoriented and frustrated. And the adrenaline pumping through your body might mask symptoms of serious injuries.
Unfortunately, while you’re in this state, you’re forced to deal with other drivers, police officers, emergency medical responders, and maybe even insurance company adjusters.
Knowing what to do in the minutes, hours, and days after a crash can make a huge difference in both your health and your finances. Let’s look at a few best practices to follow in the aftermath of a car accident.
What to Do Immediately After a Crash
When the crash first occurs, take the following steps:
- Determine whether you or anyone else involved in the crash is seriously injured.
- If your vehicle is in a dangerous location (in heavy traffic on an interstate, for example), move to a safer spot if possible.
- Call 911 and report the crash, including where it happened and how many vehicles are involved.
- If there any injuries, describe them to the 911 dispatcher and wait for an ambulance to arrive.
While You Wait for the Police to Arrive
Once you know that a police officer (and possibly an ambulance) is on the way:
- Exchange basic information with the other driver, including name, insurance information, and contact info.
- Don’t talk at length to the other driver, especially about the crash—and NEVER apologize for your involvement in the crash or admit fault.
- If you’re able to do so, take pictures of the crash scene and the damage to your vehicle.
- If there are witnesses to the crash, ask them for their contact information.
Once the Police Arrive
- Answer all the police officer’s questions to the best of your ability.
- If you need immediate medical care (or even if you suspect you could be injured), seek treatment as soon as possible.
- If you don’t require immediate transportation to the hospital, stay at the scene until the responding officer tells you it’s okay to leave.
In the Hours After the Crash
- Make sure you have a diagnosis from a doctor about potential injuries.
- Notify your own insurance company about the crash—this usually needs to be done within 24 to 48 hours of an accident.
- Consider contacting a car accident attorney for help getting compensation.
In the Days and Weeks Following the Car Accident
- If you’re contacted by the other driver’s insurance company, DO NOT provide them a statement or speak to them at length. Instead, tell them to talk to your lawyer and say nothing else.
- Keep copies of all the bills or correspondence you receive in relation to the crash (medical bills, property damage, correspondence from insurers, etc.)
- Follow all your doctor’s orders and rest as much as possible.
- DO NOT go back to work or attempt to do anything else that could worsen your injury.
The Value of an Attorney After a Car Accident
Dealing with insurance companies can be a big headache for anyone, especially someone recovering from serious injuries suffered in a crash. Your attorney will deal with insurance companies for you, and they’ll do so with your best interests in mind.
You could be owed a significant amount of compensation, but without an attorney, the insurance company might lowball you or deny your claim entirely. Your lawyer will work to get you maximum compensation for all of the crash-related costs you face.
If You Need Help, Contact Fieger Law
The Michigan car accident attorneys at Fieger Law have years of experience helping crash victims get the payments they’re entitled to. Contact our team today to schedule a free, no-obligation case assessment.