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First Thing to do After an Auto Wreck

Donald Singleton
February 15, 2022

For most people, the day after an auto crash is one of depression, frustration, and anger. They feel like they have been violated, and they want to do something about it.

If you are involved in an accident, immediately start taking pictures of the scene. Get pictures of every part of the car, including the driver, passengers, and all environmental factors.

While these feelings are understandable, there is nothing you can do to change the fact that you were in an accident. All you can do is be there for the after-effects, which are likely to include physical injuries, financial issues, and pain and suffering.

Keep in mind that there are pre-accident behaviors that you can change. These include things like driving style, safety habits, and profanity use.

If you are involved in a car accident, it’s important to take the following steps:

  • Check for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
  • Move to a safer area. If it’s safe to do so, move your car to the side of the road. If it’s not safe to move, stay in your car.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, the collision, and the property damage to the vehicles or other objects.
  • If there were any road hazards or obstructions that may have contributed to the crash, such as vegetation blocking a traffic sign, take photos of those.
  • Exchange information and document the crash. Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, and insurance company information. Take pictures of the accident scene, if possible.
  • When you get into an accident, it’s important to know what kind of insurance coverage you have. That way, you can determine whether to file a claim. Not all accidents result in a claim. You may not need to file a claim if the damage to your car is less than your deductible.
  • You also have the option of filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.

Check for any injuries

If you are involved in an accident, immediately start taking pictures of the scene. Get pictures of every part of the car, including the driver, passengers, and all environmental factors. If you have a chance to look at the driver before the accident, take a picture of them too. Even after a minor accident, there might be injuries.

Be sure to check for injuries that result from the impact of the car. You should also check for injuries that result from the recovery process. Examples include:

  • Broken bones
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Freeze-dried skin

Make sure the area is safe

If the accident occurred in a private location, make sure the area is safe before you start taking pictures. Check the surroundings to make sure there are no threats of violence or infection.

If you are able to get to a phone, call the local police officer immediately. If you are not able to get to a phone, make sure you get home safely and then call the police department from there.

Get information

Get information about the auto accident from the other driver’s perspective. Ask them what happened and what they were doing when the accident occurred. In many cases, the driver will be unable to give you clear information about the accident.

Documentation that supports the loss, such as an estimate of repair or police report indicating theft of your car, et cetera, can be considered proof of your claim.

Request a copy of the police report. Having an accident report can help you later on when filing a claim.

Document what happened and exchange information

Exchanging information is one of the most important things to do after an auto wreck. In fact, it’s one of the most important things you can do period. It’s important to document what happened, and also to share information with the other driver.

If the other driver was not responsible for the accident, then you should document their account of the accident. Describe the circumstances leading up to the accident, and also what happened after the accident.

Get medical attention

If you are involved in an accident, either as a driver or as a passenger, you should seek emergency medical attention for whatever injuries you have. If you are injured in an accident, your medical records and medical bills will be covered up to the limits of bodily injury liability insurance, which is required in most states.

Check the coverage of your insurance policy

Make sure that the liability coverage of your insurance policy includes coverage for property damages, including theft and damage to third-party vehicles.

Many insurers will let you know on your policy whether or not your vehicle is considered a “total loss” vehicle. If it is, you may be able to get a discount on your policy or even a free copy of your policy from the insurer.

Get reconstruction estimates

Have reconstructions estimates for the housing of your respective limbs done? Flash photography can sometimes disguise the extent of your injuries.

Take pictures

Take pictures of the damaged vehicle from every angle. This will help in determining whether the driver

Make a decision whether or not to file a claim

Many insurers will let you know whether or not your vehicle is a total loss. If it is, you may be able to get a discount on your policy or even a free copy of your policy from the insurer. As soon as possible after an accident, file an auto insurance claim or at least contact your insurance agent.

You may want to pursue fair-market-value compensation

If your car was damaged in an accident, but the repairs aren’t too much more than the value of your car, you may decide to forgo having the repairs made. Instead, you may decide to sell the car in order to recover some of your lost income.

Note: Make sure the other driver agrees to make repairs

Compare quotes from different insurance companies

Get quotes from different insurance companies for the same repair task. Comparing quotes is important because many businesses will come down to a “model” or “template” when quoting prices. This way, you can see what the difference is between quotes and find the best deal for you.

As soon as you file an insurance claim with your insurer and provide all the information they require, an insurance adjuster determines the fault driver and how much you’ll receive for repairs or a replacement if your car was totaled.

In order to get the claims process started as quickly as possible, you should file a claim as soon as possible.

Service your car according to the manufacturer’s instructions

The manufacturer will have instructions on how to service your car. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully.

Return your car to the dealer

The dealer will have instructions on how to return your car to normal working order. You should also check on the performance of your car after being repaired.

Conclusion

If you’re in a car accident, the first thing to do is to remain calm. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, and call for help if necessary. If the accident is minor, move the cars out of the way of traffic, and take pictures of the accident scene. If you’re able to, write down what happened in the accident. This information will be helpful to the police and insurance companies.

 

Donald Singleton

Donald Singleton

Author

A Georgia native, Don founded Singleton Law Firm in 1999 as a continuation of his lifetime commitment to serving his state and community. He has concentrated his trial practice to representing victims of serious injury and wrongful death arising out of trucking, car, bus and motorcycle accidents, premises liability and a wide variety of other causes.

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