Car accidents are, unfortunately, common occurrences that can have significant physical, emotional, and financial impacts on those involved. 

Whether it is a minor fender-bender or a more severe collision, car accidents can cause severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and more. These injuries may incur costs such as medical bills, loss of wages, and others. You can recover all these losses by filing a lawsuit. 

An experienced car crash attorney may help you as it may be challenging for you to understand the complex legalities involved in filing an injury claim. They can even advise you appropriately as to how to proceed after the car accident and handle the insurance company’s tactics.  

Therefore, a car accident victim must always understand and know what to do after a car accident as it will protect yourself and others after a crash. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), understanding what to do in the aftermath of a car accident is crucial to protecting your rights and ensuring you receive the necessary medical attention and support.

9 Fundamental steps to follow after a car wreck

Step 1: Get Yourself To Safety

After facing a car accident, the first step that you must take is to move yourself to a safe place. In case you are injured, you must try to move yourself and your vehicle away from the roadway if possible.   

However, you must not try to move your car in case it is about to explode or burn or it may harm other people. You must only move your car to a safe place if it is somewhat damaged or may appear stable. It will prevent other people traveling from being injured. 

Step 2: Call 911

Your next step should be to call 911 and inform the police authorities about the accident. The accident victim must tell the operator the exact location so that they can arrive in time. You must not blame anyone for the accident or say anything that can go against you while talking with the operator. You must ask them to get police officers, firefighters if necessary, and medical staff at the accident scene. Whether you are injured or not, you may be able to seek medical attention.  

Step 3: Take Information From The Other Party

The accident victim must try to gather information such as contact details of the other party and witnesses if any. You must do this before the police arrive. In case you do this after the police authorities arrive, they may prevent you from talking with the other party so that no dispute may arise.

In case of minor accidents such as fender benders, you must exchange information and get to know the other party’s insurance company policy details. You must maintain a journal and document your injury claim

  • Capture pictures of the accident scene

You must capture pictures of the accident scene and collect the following details:

  • Skid marks if any
  • Damaged vehicle
  • Injuries 
  • Any debris present on the road
  • Other party’s license plate number
You must share this information with your lawyer as it may prove helpful to build a stronger injury claim
  • Speak To Police Officers

In case the police officers have arrived at the accident scene, you must speak with them and provide a statement that may not harm your case at a later stage. Therefore, it is advisable to speak calmly and share relevant details only. The accident victim must never admit their fault in front of the police officer as it may go against their case. You must request a police report copy that may be useful for you and ask for the name of the police official who is handling your accident case. 

  • Do Not Admit To Fault

The accident victim must be cautious to speak before the police officer the other party or medical professionals. Even if you know that it is your fault, you must not speak out about your fault in the car accident. You can only speak the truth before your car crash lawyer. In case you admit fault, it may be impossible for you to recover damages that you may have suffered in the event of the car crash.

Step 4: Get Examined By A Medical Professional

In case you sustained injuries at the accident scene, you must take prompt medical attention, After the arrival of medical and emergency services, they will examine you and will help determine the following:

  • Whether you have sustained minor or major injuries
  • They will suggest appropriate medical treatment according to the severity of your injuries

Some of the injuries that you may sustain after a car accident are fractures, external lacerations, concussions, internal bleeding, whiplash, neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even paralysis. 

After an accident, you may experience an adrenalin rush that may release stress hormones within you. Therefore, you must sit and relax till the emergency services arrive. 


Step 5: Go To A Medical Center, If Needed

Sometimes, your injuries may be severe and a medical professional may advice you to sit in the ambulance and go to the hospital for further check-ups. You must listen to such professionals and go to the hospital as there may be internal injuries or severe injuries that may harm you in the future. It may also prevent any complications that may arise if you do not see the doctor after suffering from internal injuries.

After a medical check-up, you must keep track of the medical records and keep a note of your injuries. They may serve as invaluable evidence for your accident claim after the recovery. Some examples of medical records are X-ray reports, doctor’s notes, medical prescriptions, and other relevant details. All these details must be shared with the lawyer who may use these to make your case strong. 

Along with this, you must always document the symptoms that you are experiencing during your recovery phase. The more detailed your notes will be, the more helpful it will be in the litigation procedure. You can also date every page that you are writing to make your evidence even stronger.

Step 6: Contact An Experienced Attorney

If your medical ailment is major, it may take days weeks, or even months to recover. Once you have recovered, you must contact lawyers and tell them what happened. You must also notify the insurance company after seeking legal help. They will guide you in the following:

  • The wisest course of action according to your case
  • Some other dispute resolution paperwork if required
  • Will tell you whether the other party was negligent or at fault

You must be honest with your lawyers and show them every information and evidence related to the case. It may include police reports, statements from other parties, accident reports, and medical reports. The sooner they will get this information, the easier it will be for them to build an appropriate strategy for them. 


Step 7: Contact Your Insurance Company

After a car crash, you must contact the insurance adjuster as they may update their records accordingly. You must always ask the lawyer what information to share and what not to reveal in front of the insurance company. It is because they may use their bad-faith insurance tactics at times to deny or reduce your claim amount. In such cases, the presence of a lawyer may create a huge difference in your case. 

Step 8: Decide On A Legal Course Of Action

At this stage, you know about your injuries, you have been receiving medical treatment, you have a lawyer by your side and you have notified your insurance company of the accident. Now, it is your turn to decide what course of action will be advantageous for you. 

Your lawyers will help you to decide and determine the following:

  • Whether you need to file a lawsuit against the negligent party
  • Whether you must choose dispute resolution methods such as mediation
  • Whether the negligent party’s insurance company is going to pay you for the losses

A lawsuit is possible if your injuries are severe and your medical bills are high. You cannot sue the at-fault party if there are no injuries or damages. In such a scenario, mediation or arbitration may be helpful which will save you time and money.


Talk To An Attorney If You Have Been Injured In a Car Accident

Every car accident case is unique, and the specific actions you should take may vary depending on the circumstances. Consulting with a car accident lawyer who has experience in handling car accident cases can provide personalized advice based on the specifics of your situation.