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What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Motor vehicle accidents can be extremely stressful and traumatic, which is why remembering what to do after a crash can be particularly difficult. When you’ve been involved in a crash, whether as a driver, passenger, motorcyclists, bicyclist, or pedestrian, it’s important that you know what to do next to protect yourself. Making the right moves after an accident can help make things easier for you later on, provide you with the information you need for your insurance company and your attorney, and can also help safeguard your health.

If you were involved in a car accident, make sure you take the following steps:

1. Check for Injuries

First, survey yourself for any injuries. Next, make sure that everyone in your vehicle is okay,. It might be difficult to be cordial to the other people involved in the crash, especially if they caused the accident or harmed you. If anyone is injured, ask if they need medical attention. If you notice anyone in need to medical help, call 911 and ask for an ambulance, and provide any help you can until they arrive.

2. Call the Police

Once everyone’s medical needs have been seen to, you will need to call the police, if you haven’t called 911 already. Sometimes it isn’t strictly necessary to call the police after an accident, but having a police report of the incident can make it easier to deal with the your insurance company later on. And, if you take legal action, having a police record of the crash can help exponentially. Also, an investigation by an unbiased third-party, the officer, can help your case.

3. Exchange Information

Next, you will need to exchange vital information with the other parties involved in the crash. When you speak with the other driver(s) make sure you write down their full names, address, phone number, email, insurance provider, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate, and vehicle information. If there were pedestrians involved, bicyclists, or witnesses, make sure you gather their information as well. The testimony of an eyewitness can help your case and insurance company. Make sure you also jot down notes about the testimonies of the eyewitnesses and how they interpreted the crash.

4. Document the Crash

Nowadays, taking photos of the accident is one of the easiest ways to gather evidence after a crash. Take photos of the vehicles involved, the surrounding road and area, and the injuries caused. When you take pictures of the involved vehicles, make sure you focus on the damaged areas and take photos of the license plates. If there was debris in the road, poor visibility, rain, a fallen phone pole, a broken traffic light, or another road hazard that could have contributed to the cause of the crash, make sure you take a photo of it. If you do take photos of the injuries, make sure you have permission from the injured individual first.

5. See a Doctor

Even if you already went to the hospital after the crash, make sure you visit a doctor after the accident. Seeing your own doctor for an opinion you trust is crucial. If you never did get medical attention the day of the crash, it is especially important that you see a doctor to make sure your injuries do not go unchecked. Some injuries, like whiplash, can go unnoticed because the adrenaline from the crash hides warning signs or symptoms. Even if you are perfectly healthy and notice no problems, having a professional opinion from a doctor you trust can save your health.

6. Contact Your Attorney

After the other essentials have been taken care of, it is important to think about the next step. An experienced personal injury attorney can provide you with the guidance you need after an accident, helping with insurance claims, gathering evidence after a crash, finding the likely cause, and building a solid case in your favor. Taking action to defend your rights and seek fair compensation after a car, truck, or motorcycle accident is essential. Even if you do have some coverage through your insurance company, taking legal action might be your only way to seek full compensation after an accident.

For help after a car accident, contact our Washington DC personal injury lawyers at Simeone & Miller, LLP for guidance.