If you’ve just been in a crash, you likely have a hundred questions running through your mind. “What should I do next? Should I call an ambulance? How do I exchange information?” These questions and concerns are normal, and we see them every day. That’s why we put together this guide explaining the most important steps to take after a crash.
Step 1: Check for Injuries
Once you have taken a moment to breathe and focus, you need to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Start by slowly moving your body and stop if you feel any pain. Even if you don’t feel pain, be mindful of your movements until you see a doctor; the adrenaline coursing through your body may mask the pain of internal injuries.
If you see blood or a broken bone, call an ambulance immediately.
Step 2: Call an Ambulance
If someone is seriously injured, you should call 911 and get an ambulance and a police officer to the scene. The ambulance EMTs can provide first aid and a field examination to determine whether you should go to the hospital.
Remember that your health comes first; having paramedics at the scene gives you the best chance to identify injuries and make a successful recovery.
Step 3: Exchange Insurance Information
If your injuries aren’t severe enough to warrant an ambulance, you need to meet the other driver and exchange information. Remember to be polite and avoid conflict. The crash already happened; now is the time to stick to the facts.
When meeting the other driver, make sure you check off the following information:
Driver’s Phone Number
License Plate Number
Insurance Policy Number
If you have any doubts about the information, ask the driver to text you a copy of their documents. This will instantly verify their phone number and give your insurance company a means of contacting them if anything is missing.
Step 4: File a Police Report
Whether you call 911 or the police hotline, it’s always a good idea to have an officer at the scene of the crash, especially when someone is injured. The responding officer will write a police report documenting the crash, who was involved, and their insurance information.
This crucial step creates a paper trail demonstrating that you were injured in the crash. In some cases, unbiased testimony from nearby witnesses can help determine who was responsible for the wreck. If you notice a nearby witness, ask them to stay until police arrive. If they refuse, ask if you could get their email so your attorney can contact them later.
Step 5: Visit a Doctor
However you leave the scene, you should see a doctor immediately after the crash. As the adrenaline wears off, you may become more aware of your injuries. Likewise, a physical examination may determine that you experienced internal “latent injuries,” which would otherwise not show symptoms for several days.
By going to the doctor directly from the scene of the crash, you’re giving yourself the best chance of a successful recovery. You’re also sending a message to the insurance company that your injuries were serious enough to justify going to the doctor.
Step 6: Contact Your Attorney
Once you’ve seen a doctor, it’s time for the final step. After a car crash, hiring an attorney gives you the best chance of a successful settlement and a fair recovery. On average, 85% of people who win their car crash case hired an attorney to represent them.
Your attorney can handle all the stresses and busywork related to your case. They’ll manage the paperwork, the courts, the phone calls, and the negotiations with the insurance company. With an attorney on your side, you can focus on feeling better while they handle the rest.If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a car crash, you need a firm that can offer the personal attention you deserve! If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced New Hampshire car accident attorney from Upton & Hatfield, LLP, don’t hesitate to call (603) 716-9777 or send us an email.