No one expects that they’ll be involved in a crash, so very few people are truly prepared when it happens. When you aren’t ready for the worst-case scenario, you may not be sure what to do after a car accident or how to handle the situation.
Instead of scrambling to figure out the right things to do on the spot after a collision, learn the following steps. By taking these steps after a car accident, including contacting a car injury lawyer, you will take control of the situation and put yourself in a strong position for any potential insurance or legal battle.
If you were hurt in a collision, contact our car accident lawyers of Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. We are experienced in taking personal injury cases to trial and have won more than $200 million in settlements and jury verdicts. To find out more about how we can best represent you, learn how our Montgomery car accident lawyers, Mobile car accident lawyers, Huntsville car accident lawyers, or Birmingham car accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. can help.
Immediately following the crash you should take note of your own health. Are you bleeding? Did you hit your head? Do you feel anything might be broken? Don’t move unless you’re sure you won’t hurt yourself further. If you’re able, check on your passengers or other people involved in the accident. Apply basic first aid if you have that capability.
If the car is in the way of traffic and you can still drive, move to the side of the road as best you can. If you have flares or cones, put them outside of the accident to signal traffic to slow down and give the scene space.
You need to notify the police of the accident as soon as possible. Calling 911 ensures you and other victims of the crash receive medical attention quickly and that an officer will arrive on the scene to take statements and draft a report. Alabama Code § 32-10-5 requires that an accident resulting in injury or death be reported to law enforcement immediately. Failing to report an accident can result in penalties.
If you and the other parties of the crash are able, you should exchange personal contact and insurance information. Ask for names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and email addresses. Take down the makes, models, colors, and license plate numbers of the cars involved. Gather insurance information, such as the specific insurers and policy numbers.
Gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. Although you may forget exactly what happened and the positions of the vehicles, a picture or video will accurately record the situation. You may be able to use photos and videos as proof of property damage and extent of injuries during the investigation process.
Take photos or video on your phone of damage to your car and other involved vehicles. Try to obtain pictures from a variety of angles and distances. Also take photos of injuries that you or any of your passengers have suffered in order to document all of the effects of the accident for a potential claim.
Call your auto insurance company right away. You also need to notify the company insuring the driver you believe to be at fault that you will be filing a claim. If you don’t provide proper notice, the insurer may later deny your claim.
Even if the accident was minor, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Many symptoms are not immediately apparent. Bruises and sore muscles can show up days later. You may be suffering from a condition, such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury, without knowing you’ve been injured.
Your primary care physician will know your medical history and signs of common injuries. If you are in pain in the days following the accident, don’t hesitate to go to the emergency department. Tell them you were in an accident and when so they can best determine the cause of your symptoms and how to treat you.
Make sure you maintain the originals of your medical results and bills, the accident report, and any other documents relevant to the accident. You may need to contact the police station to obtain a copy of the accident report. Every time you call an insurer, make a note of who you spoke with, at what time, and the topic and conclusion of the conversation.
Car accidents can be complicated for numerous reasons. If multiple cars were involved, there may be confusion as to who was at fault. The party who caused the accident may claim that the accident was caused by a reason other than their actions, such as a mechanical malfunction. Additionally, even seemingly clear-cut accidents can become difficult if insurance companies don’t treat you fairly.
If your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, you may have options for getting compensation for your:
It’s important to act quickly. Because so much can go wrong following a collision, it’s best to have experienced legal counsel by your side who can offer advice. Our car accident lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. have more than 65 years of collective experience handling auto accidents and personal injury cases. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our attorneys will quickly travel to investigate your case. We will protect your rights and aggressively advocate for the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and losses.
Call us for a free consultation at 205-933-1500.