Unfortunately, accidents can occur when you least expect them. While you can’t stop the unpredictable from happening, you can take steps to protect yourself after the fact.
Injuries resulting from a car or truck accident can lead to hefty medical bills, car repairs, or even require you to find an auto accident attorney. Following your accident, you’ll need to take action to ensure you receive just compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and everything in-between. Since the action you take immediately after a crash can influence your overall outcome, it’s crucial to follow seven essential steps after a truck or car accident.
Truck Vs. Car Accidents
Car or truck crashes are nerve-wracking experiences with potentially severe consequences. While accidents occur to vehicles of all sizes, truck accidents have more significant risks of serious injuries than car accidents. Therefore, while car insurance varies on coverage, trucks must have a more comprehensive insurance policy since the risk of serious injuries or death is significantly increased.
Steps to Take Following a Car or Truck Accident
Regardless of whether you have been in a car or truck crash, you need to know what steps to take immediately following the accident for your safety and well-being. Follow this seven-step guide to help you through this process:
1. Try and Remain Calm
After you’ve been in an accident, your adrenaline spikes, potentially leaving you feeling disorientated. In an emergency situation, the most important thing to do is ensure you’re safe. At this moment, take a deep breath and try to get your wits about you.
Immediately check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If you’re unable to move, stay put and wait for help. If your vehicle can drive, try and safely move it out of the road to help you in the following steps.
2. Assess the Situation
After the initial shock, it’s vital to assess the situation to figure out the next steps. Once you establish that everyone in your car is okay, you should see if the other drivers need assistance.
If you smell gas or smoke, leave your vehicle and get everyone to a safe distance. Whatever you do, don’t leave the area or drive away because this can show negligence, especially if it was an accident where someone was injured or killed. Instead, stay put until the police arrive.
3. Dial 911
At this point, even if you were in a minor crash with what appears to be minimal damage or injuries, it’s vital to call the police. While it’s required to make a police statement in certain states, it’s also a good idea to have cops create an accident report, gather both parties’ accounts, and document all key information. This report will help an attorney evaluate your legal case if needed.
During this interaction, try and record the officer’s name, badge number, and the accident report’s number as well so that you can request a copy. Also, refrain from mentioning anything other than the essential information. The less you say, the better.
4. Gather Information
After the accident and before you leave the scene, make sure you document as many details as possible. Start by collecting the following information from the other drivers:
- Phone number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Insurance information
Alongside recording the other person’s information, it’s a great idea to write down additional information that will later be requested by your insurance company and used in legal cases. Some good examples include:
- The date and time of the crash
- The driving conditions
- Where the accident happened
- The name of the road you were on
- Nearby cross streets
- The direction you were traveling
- What you remember about the accident
Additionally, if there were any witnesses to the incident, you should take down their contact information as well in case it’s needed for your legal defense.
Finally, try to take pictures of both vehicles, the scene where it happened, and any injuries. While it may seem like the last thing you want to do in this situation, the more you can record, the better prepared you will be to seek legal compensation. You’ll thank yourself for doing this later.
5. Seek Medical Help
Injuries from accidents can be deceiving since many don’t appear for days up to weeks after the actual incident. This response is primarily due to adrenaline spiking from the initial event.
One of the smartest decisions to make is to seek out medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor will run tests, take x rays for whiplash, and treat any noticeable injuries. Beyond ensuring that you’re ok, this visit will also provide another written document to use in a legal case against any negligent parties.
If you don’t have health insurance but you believe that the other person was at fault, you should still seek out medical attention. Your health bills should be covered by the at fault party or their insurance company.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if you’re not at fault for the accident, it’s still vital to reach out to your insurance company to let them know that you’ve been in a car or truck crash. Some states have no-fault laws, which means that your insurance will cover your vehicle’s damage while the guilty party’s insurance covers your medical bills. In other situations, your insurance may need to cover your repairs and injuries completely. This is why you’ll need to contact them to fill in the details.
If you haven’t heard from the at-fault party’s insurance within a week of the accident, you’ll need to call them to report that situation. When you do this, make sure to give only basic information regarding the accident, especially if you plan to get a lawyer involved. While the other insurance may try to get you to record a statement, kindly refuse and contact your attorney because this could hurt your case.
7. Contact an Attorney
After the reality of the situation sets in, you’ll need to take action to protect yourself from potential liability, hefty medical bills, and any other repercussions that follow severe car or truck crashes. The more information you provide to your attorney, the more they can adequately assess your situation and evaluate your case.
During this time, reach out to the highly-rated auto accident attorneys from Mottaz & Sisk. We understand how stressful and overwhelming this process is which is why we seek to help you get the financial compensation you justly deserve.
Get the Compensation You Deserve With Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law
Since car accidents can happen to even the best drivers, it’s essential to know what steps to take to protect yourself after the fact. Remember to gather as much information as possible, seek medical attention right away, and follow up with both insurance companies. This will help create a paper trail to strengthen your case, especially if you need to prove negligence against the other party. Even though this is a stressful situation, you don’t have to go through it alone.
At Mottaz & Sisk, our team of auto accident attorneys understands how taxing this situation can be, which is why we will fight for fair compensation for any injuries sustained and loss of wages from missed work. Instead of navigating this tedious process on your own, our team will help you every step of the way. If you’ve recently experienced a car or truck crash, contact Mottaz & Sisk today to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.