If you’re ever involved in a car accident, knowing what to do in the immediate aftermath can be difficult when you’re disoriented and simply trying to calm your nerves and make sure you’re OK. However, the steps that you take in the minutes and hours after a car accident can dictate what happens next. If you find yourself wondering what to do after a car accident, our Arizona car accident attorney made this guide to give you everything you need to know.
Always Stop Your Vehicle in Accordance With Automobile Accident Laws
If you don’t know what to do in a car accident, the first and likely most important step is to stop your vehicle. Even if the accident is a simple fender bender with only minor amounts of damage, it’s considered a crime to leave the scene.
Take Measures to Avoid Further Accidents at the Scene
Depending on the on-road conditions as well as the time of day, visibility could be relatively poor at the scene of the accident. In this situation, it’s important that incoming vehicles are able to notice that an accident has occurred, which will allow them to react in time. There are a couple of things you can do to keep further accidents at bay, which involve keeping your flashing headlights on or setting up a couple of flares if you have some in your vehicle.
These preventive measures are commonly needed when there’s low-level fog or heavy rain in your area. The same is true if it’s nighttime when the accident occurs. If the lights in your vehicle don’t work as intended, make sure that you have a flashlight by your side. While waiting for police to arrive at the scene of the accident, it’s highly recommended that you remain in the seat of your vehicle. If you can move your car, try to take it to the side of the road, which reduces the possibility of additional incidents.
Contact the Police
In the majority of situations, you’ll likely want to contact the police when a car accident takes place. For one, it’s impossible to know the extent of the injuries that have occurred as a result of the accident. The ligaments, muscles, and tendons in your body can become injured even when you’re involved in a minor fender bender. These are soft-tissue injuries and aren’t always immediately noticeable following a car accident.
The neck muscles are commonly injured after an accident as the result of whiplash when the impact occurs. It sometimes takes weeks for symptoms of this injury to develop. Calling the police is also important so that you can have official police records at your disposal when you file a claim with your insurance provider. The length of time it takes for a police report of your accident to be available depends on the county where the accident took place. Some counties will file police records online, which makes it easy to obtain the report.
Provide Detailed Records
If you’re unsure of what to do after a car accident when the police arrive, you’ll need to give a statement that details how the accident occurred. Tell the investigating officer exactly what happened that resulted in the accident. Only tell them what you remember for certain. You shouldn’t mislead them if you don’t have a complete recollection of the incident.
The investigating officer may ask you if you’re suffering from an injury. Even if you don’t believe you’re injured, it’s important you tell the officer you aren’t certain. Injuries may take hours or days to show up after a car accident. The officer will obtain reports from any other individuals at the scene of the accident, which includes passengers in your vehicle.
Take Some Pictures Before Exchanging Information
Take pictures of your vehicle to better document what happened during the accident. Photograph your injuries as well to make sure no one tries to claim your injuries occurred after the accident. While taking pictures, don’t interfere with the police as they conduct their investigation.
When you’re at the scene of the accident, exchange information with any other drivers. Even though this information is typically gathered by the police officer, it may take weeks to gain access to the police report. By collecting this information immediately, you can provide it to your insurance provider without delay. This information should include the address, phone number, and name of any individual involved in the accident. It should also include insurance information and a police report number, which a police officer provides to you at the scene of the accident.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once you have left the scene of the accident, call your insurance company to report it. If you require medical attention for injuries pertaining to the accident, your insurance provider may pay for these injuries. In the event that the other driver was at fault, their insurance provider may need to cover the costs. Even if the other driver was at fault, inform your insurance provider before any others.
Obtain Medical Attention
If the injuries that you sustain are serious, immediate medical attention is likely necessary. However, it’s possible that symptoms don’t occur for a couple of days. Whether you hit your head during the accident or are suffering from the effects of whiplash, the injuries that you don’t immediately notice can be severe.
If you wait too long to seek medical attention, it’s more difficult to convince an insurance provider or judge that your injuries occurred when the accident took place. Keep all medical documentation for future reference. Keep in mind that a car accident attorney such as ours can provide assistance in finding the best medical providers.
Consider Taking Legal Action With Help From an Arizona Car Accident Attorney
Arizona automobile accident laws state that comparative negligence factors into future settlements and court judgments. If you’re partially at fault for the accident, you might not receive the compensation you believe you’re owed. To that end, it’s highly recommended that you obtain the help of an Arizona car accident attorney to assist you in your case.
When an injury has occurred, there are various types of compensation that might be available. The other driver or their insurance provider could award you compensation depending on the outcome of the case. The types of compensation that are available in the event of a personal injury include pain and suffering, lost wages, household expenses, medical bills, and costs pertaining to future medical care. There are times when you should file a lawsuit. In these situations, we’ll gather all of the necessary documentation while building a strong case to try and get you the compensation you’re owed.
Now we’d like to get some feedback from you. Do you have any questions about the content of the article? Leave a comment. If you had an auto accident and need representation, call us today to set up a free consultation.