Dealing With Trauma After a Car Accident
Enduring a car accident can be particularly traumatic, and it’s about more than just the physical damage to your car. Because car accidents leave many feeling shocked, it’s a good idea to have a plan ahead of time for how to deal with a car accident.
What Should You Do Immediately Following a Relatively Minor Accident?
A major accident with multiple vehicles or where someone is seriously injured must be dealt with a bit differently, but here is a plan for dealing with a relatively minor accident:
- Move your vehicle to a safe area like the shoulder of the road, if possible. If you cannot move your vehicle, turn on your flashing hazard lights to alert other drivers.
- Get out of your vehicle when safe.
- Check on any parties involved—other drivers, passengers and any pedestrians—to make sure everyone is safe. Immediately call 911 if anyone appears to be injured.
- Call law enforcement and make a report.
- Do not admit fault. Ever. Even if you believe yourself to be at fault, do not admit it or even hint at it. It is the job of the authorities to determine fault. Gather any relevant information, including:
- The names of the other driver(s) and any passengers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- Make and model of any vehicles involved
- Contact information for any witnesses
- The name and badge number of any law enforcement officers who respond to the scene
- Document anything you can using the camera on your smart phone
Of course, in the event of a more serious accident, you should immediately call 911, then perform the above steps if feasible.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
What Else Should You Do After an Accident?
You should seek medical attention, even if you do not believe yourself to be injured.
Even a minor accident can cause injuries, like whiplash, which you may not be aware of until later. This means that even if you think you are fine, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention following a car accident. Calling an ambulance may not be necessary, but you should call your primary care physician or go to an urgent care clinic to be checked out. Sometimes when people are in shock following a car accident, their brains do not immediately process injuries. This is why it is a good idea to consult a physician, even if you don’t believe you’ve been injured. The physical effects of a car accident can be devastating, and months of pain and rehabilitation resulting from an accident may result in reduced productivity and an inability to fully participate in life.
What Should You Do after You’ve Seen a Doctor?
Finally, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation, especially if your physician determines that you have been injured or if the authorities determine that you are at fault.
If you are in physical pain resulting from another driver’s being at fault, then you may be entitled to the other party’s insurance covering your medical bills. Without proper representation, you may feel pressured by the insurance company into a settlement that is really not in your best interest. If you are determined to be at fault, you may feel pressured to settle for more than what the law actually requires. Surrounding yourself with the right legal team is a way to protect your rights and make sure you receive what you are entitled to under the law. This makes legal representation essential.
Enduring a car accident can be upsetting and stressful, even if it’s just a minor accident. Because you will likely be under extreme stress and possibly not thinking clearly, it’s helpful to have a plan before hand, a plan that involves seeking medical attention and legal support.