Being involved in a car accident can be very disorienting. You’re not just dealing with pain, but with the fact that your car might be destroyed. Many things about your future are now in flux and you won’t always know what to do next. Fortunately, there are steps that you should take if you are involved in an accident. While these steps can vary by your location and your situation, you can generally follow this checklist to determine what steps to take next. With a little help, you can make sense of what happened in your wreck and how to proceed.
Assess Your Injury
When you are involved with an injury, your first step should always be to make sure that you are safe and that no one in your car is injured. While you may be wondering about the future in this case, nothing’s more important than your immediate health. If someone has called a paramedic to help you, make sure to respond. If you are not hurt, you can proceed to the next step. If you are hurt too badly to do anything else, though, the other steps can wait.
After you are checked out on the scene, it is important to start gathering evidence as quickly as possible. Start by talking to any police who are on scene so that there can be a record of what has happened. While you will still need to gather all of your own evidence to supplement what the police have gathered, you still need to start by complying with the police. If the police are not on scene, make sure to call them – even if the other party asks you not to do so.
Once you talk to the police, make sure to take pictures of the scene. Pictures speak louder the words, and they don’t mysteriously forget things by the time you get to court. The pictures you take at the scene may prove pivotal if you go to court, so make sure that you take as many as possible. Hold on to these pictures and make sure your lawyer gets them.
Go to the Doctor
After you are clear of the accident, make sure you see a doctor. If you are injured badly at the scene, this will actually be your second step. You’ll want to talk to the doctor and get a report of your injuries no matter what happened. Even if you are not badly injured, you are going through the process of creating a paper trail. The more information you have the better.
It’s also important to visit your own doctor after the accident. This is the best way not just to prepare for your case, but to make sure that you get the help you need. It is still your job to make sure that you mitigate damage whenever possible and your own doctor is probably the best equipped to determine what medical steps you need to take next.
Call an Attorney
Next, talk to an attorney. While you have done a great job so far gathering evidence and making sure you are taken care of, you need to turn over the legal duties to someone who has studied the law and has experience dealing with personal injuries. It’s quite important that you listen to your attorney and follow the advice that he or she gives you. Most attorneys will give you a free or low-cost consultation before taking you on, so take advantage of this meeting to determine whether you can work with the attorney and if you need to pursue the matter in court.
Finally, you’ll need to wait. If you are contacted by the other party’s lawyer or insurance agency, make sure to call your lawyer and have him or her handle things. Don’t start posting on social media and don’t start contacting the other party on your own. Personal injury cases can take longer than you realize, but don’t try to rush things more than necessary. If you are able to be patient, you can avoid some of the most common mistakes that happen during a personal injury case. You have professional help, so let your lawyer take things from here.
Once you are involved in an accident, certain things will start moving quickly. Always make sure that you prioritize your health first, but also make sure that you start planning for what might come next. The most important person you can talk to during this process is your doctor. After that, though, the most important person you’ll need to speak to is a good attorney. A car accident can change your life, so make sure that you get the help of a professional so that everything is handled properly. A good lawyer will make all the difference in your case.