What Should You Do In The Days Following a Car Accident?

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In an instant, the squeal of brakes and the crunch of metal can change everything. A car accident can leave you shaken and unsure of what to do next. These stressful moments after a collision will determine the outcome of your insurance claim and recovery.

Having a plan beforehand ensures you are prepared to navigate this chaotic situation with clarity and confidence.

The seconds, minutes, and hours following an accident set the course for how your claim will unfold. From dealing with first responders to documenting injuries, knowing the right steps to take can make the difference between a smooth resolution and a drawn-out battle.

In this article, we’ll outline the critical actions to focus on so you can focus on your health and recovery.

The Frequency of Car Accidents

Car accidents are a common occurrence around the world. Motor vehicle insurance markets provide coverage for these incidents. Statistics show the size and growth projections for this important industry.

It is projected that the global motor vehicle insurance market size, as measured by gross written premium, will reach $1.96 trillion in 2024. On average, spending per person on motor vehicle insurance is estimated at $253.20 in 2024.

The gross written premium in the motor vehicle insurance market is forecast to have an annual growth rate of 2.34% between 2024-2028. This should result in the total market volume reaching $2.15 trillion by 2028.

When comparing countries, the United States is projected to generate the most motor vehicle insurance gross written premium in 2024 at $1,338 billion.

These statistics illustrate the prevalence of car accidents worldwide and highlight the substantial motor vehicle insurance industry that has developed in response. The market serves a crucial role in providing financial protection from the risks involved with vehicle operations.

Key Steps to Take After a Car Accident

1.     Assessing for Injuries After a Collision

Everyone involved in a vehicle accident must remain at the scene until it can be determined whether medical assistance is required. The top priority in any crash, even minor ones, is always safety.

Before leaving or addressing anything else related to the accident, you must first make sure the well-being of all people involved has been evaluated. It is important to check that everyone appears unharmed from the collision.

2.     The Importance of Reporting Accidents to Authorities

Notifying local law enforcement about any vehicle collision, regardless of severity, is advisable. Insurance providers routinely request documentation from police related to damage claims.

The police arrive at the scene of major accidents to conduct investigative documentation. Officers will interview those involved and any witnesses to help determine accountability. Crucial details like names and badge numbers of responding officers should be recorded.

Smaller incidents like fender benders may not warrant an on-site police response. In such cases, drivers should go to the nearest police station together to file an accident report. While adding some inconvenience, this extra step provides insurance with the verification they typically need when repair costs are submitted.

Even minor collisions between vehicles necessitate informing authorities through official reporting. The paperwork exists to provide all parties with an objective accounting that aids insurance resolution. Taking the time to engage law enforcement following any crash, from small dents to serious injuries, lays the foundation for properly addressing liability and claims processing going forward.

3.     Documenting the Accident Scene

It is important to document details about the accident as soon as possible thoroughly. Use your smartphone to take photos and video of the entire crash scene from various angles. Close-up photos should show any damage to the vehicles. Note the location of street signs and the direction in which each vehicle was travelling before and after the accident occurred.

Beyond photographing vehicle damage, be sure to capture images showing the position of each car relative to the street or highway. This positional information will help insurance adjusters understand how the accident transpired.

Create a diagram of the accident scene either manually or using a diagramming app. Applications like AccidentSketch.com and SmartDraw.com can assist in producing a clear sketch.

Additionally, use your phone’s voice memo feature to verbally record your recollection of the accident details while fresh in your memory. The weather conditions and visibility at the time of the incident should be mentioned.

Properly documenting the scene immediately after the crash occurs is important for accurately reporting all relevant details to insurance companies later on. A thorough set of photos, diagrams, and voice memos can help explain what happened.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

It is always recommended that legal counsel be sought as soon as possible following a car accident. Dealing with insurance claims on your own can become stressful and complex. Additionally, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will likely try to contact you for a statement.

A real example illustrates why retaining an attorney is important. In a recent incident in St. Louis, a man was struck when an employee of Midwest Elevator Company ran a red light. Initially, he seemed uninjured from the minor crash where both vehicles remained drivable.

However, he developed significant injuries that required multiple surgeries— including procedures on his ankle, neck, and back, curtailing his 47-year career.

The man’s attorney did not submit medical bills and instead focused on how the lasting injuries impacted his client’s life and work. As a grocery store produce worker and business owner, work was a significant part of his identity and purpose. Unfortunately, he has been on medical leave and unable to perform physical tasks since the accident.

At trial, a St. Louis County jury awarded the man $10 million in damages. His experienced local St. Louis car accident lawyer was able to achieve this result by emphasizing the real-life effects of the injuries rather than just economic losses.

This case demonstrates that even minor-seeming crashes can lead to prolonged medical issues and disability. Consulting a lawyer right away ensures your rights are protected as insurance claims unfold. An attorney can advise you on the best path forward and negotiate.

Getting Medical Help

TorHoerman Law states that it’s critical to get medical attention as quickly as possible if you are hurt in an automobile accident. Seeing a doctor right away could help guarantee that any injuries are correctly identified and handled.

Be sure to keep meticulous records of all medical care received, including examination notes, test results, bills, and receipts for treatment costs. Organizing these documents is important for building a case if long-term issues arise from accident-related injuries.

Filing an Insurance Claim

You will need to file a claim with your insurance company after being in a car accident. Make sure you get in touch with them as soon as the mishap happens. Provide them with all relevant details about what happened in a thorough report. Be sure to include the following key pieces of information. The location where the accident took place. Describe exactly where it occurred on the road or highway.

Provide a detailed explanation of how the accident happened. Based on your understanding of the accident details, explain who was at fault and who did what.

Whether you exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved, let your insurance know if you have their information to share.

Remember that this challenging period will pass. Though accidents throw our lives out of routine, staying calm and trusting your support system can help you process what happened and start healing.

With time and care for your well-being, you’ll move through the aftermath healthily. But for now, be gentle with yourself as you navigate the initial phase. Your health and state of mind should be the top priority these days following such a stressful event. 

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