What you should do after a car accident checklist
Very few people put any forethought into what they should do after a car accident, but if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle crash, it’s essential that you take the appropriate measures to ensure that your insurance claim remains viable.
Immediate Steps to Take After an Accident
- Assess your immediate safety – Visually survey the area outside your vehicle. If you are on a busy roadway, stay in your car unless there is a more impending hazard, such as a gas or chemical spill or a fire. Do not move injured parties unless it’s absolutely necessary to remove them from harm’s way.
- Call Emergency Services – Phone 911 or instruct someone else nearby to do it. The 911 operator will immediately dispatch police and fire rescue personnel to the scene. Stay on the phone as long as the dispatcher needs you to so they can relay information to the responding units.
- Allow Medical Treatment – Allow first responders to give you a cursory examination on scene, even if you feel fine in the moments after the accident. You may have latent injuries can go unnoticed. Do not refuse to be transported to the hospital if the paramedics deem it prudent.
- Gather Evidence – If you are able to and it will not interfere with the first responders, take photographs and/or video of the scene. Make sure to get the case number from the police.
Within the First 24 Hours
Whether or not you are transported to the hospital, there are steps that you should take within the first 24 hours after the accident.
- Follow-up with your doctor – If you were not transported to the hospital or didn’t check yourself into an emergency room, you should schedule an appointment to see your doctor. Having a medical baseline can be crucial if you have to pursue your accident claim through the courts.
- Contact your insurance company – New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, which means that you will file your initial claim through your own insurer, regardless of who was at fault. Do not accept a fast settlement and do not sign a waiver of liability, but let your insurer know that you intend to file a claim.
- Notify your employer of absence – if you are going to miss work due to accident related injuries, you should notify your employer and tell them approximately how long you think it will be before you’re able to return to work.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer – You may not think you need a car accident attorney to get compensation for your accident, but most insurance companies are reluctant to pay full settlements for car accident claims. When you consider the costs of an accident—medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, incapacity, and pain and suffering—you begin to realize that getting a check for your doctors’ bills is far from a full and fair settlement. A car accident attorney from White Plains, NY can examine your case and determine what you are actually owed for your damages.