Vehicle accidents are still common on roads despite the safety measures and precautions in place to curb them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1.35 million people die on roadways yearly. Other victims are left with severe injuries and disabilities affecting their lives. Now, if you’re lucky to escape a car accident alive, it’s essential to know the next steps to take after the incident. We know the scene might cause confusion and pain, but you must act right. Here are eight steps you should take after car accidents injuries.
1. Check the Extent of Your Injuries
Have you ever found yourself bleeding yet don’t know the cause, nor do you feel pain? That’s what may happen when you escape a car crash with injuries. Sometimes, you may not even notice your injuries until long after leaving the scene. But why does this happen?
First, the mixed emotions you get after a car accident can distract your mind from the pain of injuries—this causes a delay in feeling pain. Your body has survival mechanisms to help you deal with sudden injury and pain. For instance, the stress of an accident causes the body to release adrenaline, increasing your pain tolerance. This is called stress-induced analgesia. Moreover, you may not feel pain right after an accident due to shock.
Additionally, some injuries don’t manifest immediately after a vehicle accident. Instead, the pain may appear as your body’s hormones even out. Common car accidents injuries that don’t show symptoms right away include;
- Head injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Sprains and strains
This is why you must examine your injuries (and those of your passengers) right after an accident, before anything else. If you (or anyone else involved in the car accident) have injuries like a broken bone, remain calm in the vehicle until help arrives—this is also true for a victim who’s lost consciousness. Trying to move right after a car accident could worsen your injuries.
2. Get Everyone to Safety (If You Can)
If you’re still conscious after a car accident and have minor injuries, you should get yourself and your passengers out of danger. Staying in the middle of the road after a car crash puts you at risk of other accidents. You never know who’s driving the other vehicles—someone might just run into your already damaged vehicle while you’re still in it.
So if you can, get all the passengers out of the vehicle and into a safe spot. If your vehicle can still move, drive it slowly to the side of the road. If not, leave it there until emergency personnel arrive and get to safety. Attempting to move the vehicle might cause more damage. Also, if there are semi truck towing companies near you, call one to help you move your vehicle to safety.
It’s worth noting that some accidents may cause fire, which could make the scene even more dangerous. So if your vehicle catches fire after an accident, ensure it doesn’t spread to nearby buildings. Fortunately, some buildings have fire sprinkler systems to prevent the growth and spread of fire. You can watch a fire sprinkler training video to understand how the system works.
Moreover, if you cannot move your vehicle or anything else, you might need a property management service to help safeguard your property. You can get this service from law enforcement officers or those close to the accident scene.
3. Seek Medical Help
If anyone is injured after a car accident, you should offer some first aid (if you understand the basics of first aid) to stabilize their condition. However, some car accident injuries require urgent medical assistance from professionals. And even if you don’t feel any pain or symptoms of injuries, you must still seek medical help for diagnosis.
Remember, your body might release endorphins in your brain after an accident due to stress and anxiety. These chemicals could mask pain symptoms, tricking you into believing you’re fine. Therefore, it’s important to call emergency personnel immediately after an accident.
If you cannot move, have someone call for medical help on your behalf. The medical team will assess your condition and detect underlying injuries such as concussions and internal bleeding. Also, they’ll help establish a clear record of your car accidents injuries, which is crucial during an insurance claim or when pursuing legal action against at-fault parties.
4. Call the Police
Once everyone is safe following car accidents injuries, you need to contact the police. The law enforcement officer will conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the potential cause of the accident. They will also collect useful information from witnesses, examine the accident scene, and inspect the vehicles involved to determine the at-fault party.
Remember, you need a police report to file a personal injury claim. Without the report from law enforcement officers, you may not have enough bargaining power for compensation. It’s worth noting that some law enforcement officers may not respond to your call immediately. As a result, they may take some time before arriving at the scene. Regardless, you must remain at the accident scene until they arrive.
If they do arrive, be sure to note the officers’ names, badge numbers, and contact information. Also, once they’re done writing the report about the accident, get a copy from them. If you can’t get a copy of the police report right away, contact the local police department in the following days to inquire about the report and where you can get a copy. You don’t have to pay anything to get a copy of the accident report. Also, the officers who respond to your call may act as witnesses in court. So filing a police report is crucial after car accidents injuries.
5. Obtain Important Information
As you wait for the law enforcement officers to arrive, try to collect essential information about the accident. This will act as evidence if you choose to pursue a claim. Start by exchanging critical information with the other driver. This includes the names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, addresses, license plate numbers, and basic car insurance information. Be sure to obtain the information of any passengers involved as well.
You can write this information on a piece of paper or notebook or capture it on your phone. Moreover, use your phone to take clear pictures of the scene. This includes the damage on your vehicle and the other driver’s, the plates of the other vehicle, and the vehicle’s make, model, and color.
Ensure you take close-up photos that clearly show the damage. If possible, do a video of the scene focusing on the damages, the surrounding environment, weather conditions, road signs, and everyone present. Also, note the date and time of the accident, the street name, and the direction each vehicle was heading before and after the incident. Gather as much information as possible about the accident—the evidence will help you when filing a claim or pursuing legal action against the at-fault party.
6. Inform Your Insurance Company
Whether you’re at fault or not, you must inform your insurance provider about the accident right away. When you contact your insurance company, ensure you provide accurate details about the accident. Note that your insurance company may have a specific timeline for reporting accidents. Be sure to follow the timelines and report your accident promptly to avoid missing the insurance coverage.
Once you inform your insurer, they’ll send an insurance adjuster to review your damages. When they do, be sure to cooperate fully throughout the entire process. If you’re not there when the insurance adjusters arrive, ensure your injury lawyer is at the scene to handle all the communications.
You should know that you have a contractual obligation to notify your insurer about the accident and potential claims. Failure to comply with this obligation may result in consequences such as policy cancellation or loss of coverage. Also, prompt reporting allows your insurance provider to initiate the claims process promptly. This can expedite the evaluation, documentation, and resolution of your claim, ensuring you receive the compensation or benefits you’re entitled to promptly.
7. Seek Help From an Expert Accident Attorney
There’s no vehicle owner that expects a car accident while on the road—it comes unexpectedly. And sometimes, the car accidents injuries sustained can lead to confusion. Therefore, it’s always a good idea for every car owner to have a personal injury lawyer.
You don’t have to wait till you get into an accident to look for one. Why? Because finding a good lawyer is also a challenge on its own. You might struggle to find an experienced and reliable injury lawyer specializing in car accidents injuries.
A personal injury lawyer will help you understand the next steps after car accidents injuries. They’ll explain your rights and offer tips on how to win your personal injury claim. Also, they’ll help you file a claim against the at-fault party. If need be, they’ll hold negotiations on your behalf and even represent you in a court of law.
8. Repairing Your Vehicle
If, for one reason or another, you’re unable to get compensation for the damages, you’ll be forced to seek auto collision services by yourself. This also happens if you’re at fault. In this case, you want to ensure your vehicle receives the necessary repairs to return to the road.
The type of repairs you need will vary depending on the extent of your vehicle’s damage. For instance, if your vehicle’s body is damaged, you might need an auto body repair to address the damage. This could include structural repairs, panel repair and replacements, frame straightening, and paintwork.
If your vehicle caught fire following the accident, you’ll need fire damage restoration on your vehicle. However, this service may not be ideal if your car is damaged beyond repair. Therefore, you might just need to seek steel recycling services to sell your vehicle remains and perhaps buy a new one. You may need to seek auto repair services from the vehicle company for repairable corvettes. Remember, the insurance will only pay for the auto repair if you’re guilt-free. So, you have to convince them you’re not the cause of the accident.
Tips for Keeping Safe on the Road
While you cannot prevent car accidents from happening entirely, there are some measures you can take to minimize the likelihood of a vehicle crash. So, if you don’t wish for car accidents injuries, here are some tips for you;
Follow Traffic Laws
Traffic laws exist for a reason—to keep everyone safe while using roads. Drivers who violate these rules are more likely to cause car accident injuries. Therefore, when driving, ensure you adhere to speed limits, traffic signs, signals, and other road regulations—it’s crucial for your safety and that of other road users.
Avoid Distractions When Driving
Do you know you’re four times more likely to cause or be involved in a car accident when driving while using a mobile phone? Distracted driving is among the leading causes of car crashes. It slows down reaction times increasing the risks of accidents. Texting while driving raises the risk of a car crash considerably.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Despite being a common slogan, many drivers still drink and drive their vehicles, not knowing the risks ahead. Driving under the influence (DUI) increases your chances of causing a car accident which could cause severe injuries or, worse, loss of lives.
You could also face serious charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or any psychoactive substance. Therefore, it’s safe to drive only when you’re sober. If you feel drunk, have someone else drive you home or take a cab. If you’re an alcohol addict, you might want to go to a detox center for help before going back on the road.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s essential to take the right steps. However, this is often challenging, especially with the physical and emotional trauma resulting from the incident. Regardless, you must know what to do to improve the outcome of the accident. We hope the steps above will help you navigate car accidents injuries.