The minutes after a car accident can amount to pandemonium, and you are not likely to be thinking clearly. Concern for your own welfare and that of other drivers and passengers, confusion over what happened, and seeing your car damaged or destroyed are all emotional triggers that can distort your perspective and interfere with sound decision-making.
Knowing what to do and what not do after an accident can help you or a loved one take important steps to ensure you get the medical treatment you need, and receive the compensation for damages you deserve.
Step 1: Gather Documentation
Provided you are not seriously injured, you should gather the following documentation, starting at the scene of the accident:
- Get information from the other driver or drivers. Write down and take pictures of their insurance information and driver’s license, and take a picture of their license plate.
- Get statements and contact information from witnesses. Use the video feature on your smart phone to record witness testimonials. Write out a brief statement and have them sign and date it.
- Take videos and photos of the accident site. Include several images of the damage to your vehicle from multiple angles, along with pictures of the location, including street signs, stop signs, traffic lights, and other signage.
- Take videos of any visible injuries, describing how they were inflicted.
- Obtain a copy of the police report from the accident scene.
- Retain medical receipts and request copies of medical reports.
- Obtain documentation of lost wages or lost income opportunities caused by the accident.
Step 2: Seek Medical Attention
If you are seriously injured, ask witnesses to gather information from the scene while you are transported to the hospital. If you are able to remain on the accident scene until after the police report, seeking medical attention should be your next step. Even if you don’t have visible or palpable injuries, symptoms are sometimes delayed, masked by adrenaline and endorphins released by your body to deal with pain.
Some delayed symptoms of injury may indicate serious problems:
- Headaches can indicate concussion, brain injury or blood clots
- Neck, head and shoulder pain may indicate whiplash or spinal injury
- Back pain may indicate disc, nerve and/or muscle damage
- Numbness, weakness or tingling in your extremities may indicate nerve damage
- Abdominal pain may indicate internal damage to vital organs and soft tissues
- Depression, anxiety or PTSD indicate mental and emotional injury
What NOT to do After an Accident
There are certain actions you should avoid after an accident, as they may influence your share of liability and the amount of damages you are eventually compensated for.
- Do not blame yourself, or admit to fault in front of insurance representatives, witnesses, or the other party.
- Do not sign any release forms that terminate your right to file a lawsuit or make future claims. You may have a delayed injury, and signing a release of liability could deprive you of compensation for your injuries.
- Do not be in a hurry to settle. The insurance company may offer you money to settle the case, but you may be entitled to much more than they initially offer.
If you are pressed for money to pay your medical expenses and legal fees, consider a settlement cash advance loan to tide you over, so you can hold out for the highest settlement amount.
Get Financial Relief
During the weeks following a car accident, expenses can begin to pile up. You may need to take time off from work, arrange for alternative transportation and deal with medical and legal bills, all while trying to maintain your regular monthly household and family expenses. You may be tempted to take a low offer from the insurance company, just to alleviate financial stress.
Cronus can help relieve some financial pressure while you wait for your case to settle. We offer cash advance loans to tide you over, buying you time to hold out for the best settlement you deserve. The application process is easy, and you can have the money you need in a matter of days.