What to do After a Car Accident
The minutes following a car accident are hectic and frightening. It can be hard to remember what to do in the heat of the moment. Luckily, there are several actions you can take after a crash that will help keep you and everyone else safe. In 2020, there were 12,107 serious injury crashes, with 14,656 people sustaining a severe injury.
Being scared or overwhelmed can sometimes lead people to make rushed decisions, but knowing the proper steps beforehand gives you an advantage. Your actions in the moments and days after a car accident will determine whether you follow the law, get the medical treatment you need, and file your claim correctly.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Check Yourself for Injuries
Check yourself for any apparent injuries. Don’t assume you are uninjured because you don’t immediately notice wounds or feel pain. In the moments after a crash, your body will flood with adrenaline, which masks pain. Even if you aren’t yet aware of it, you might have one of these common car crash injuries:
- Neck injury
- Back injury
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Broken bones
- Sprains, tears, or sprains
Whiplash is a common car accident injury that often has delayed symptoms. But getting a diagnosis is essential because failure to treat whiplash can make it worse. Other injuries like concussions and internal bleeding can go unnoticed but have serious consequences.
Check Your Passengers
Once you’ve established that you can move about safely, check on any passengers to ensure they’re all right. If anyone appears to be injured, call 911 immediately or ask a bystander to call for you. Never move anyone who seems badly injured.
Get to Safety
If you can, it’s always best to get out of the way. If no one appears to be badly injured, move to the side of the road or the sidewalk before calling 911. Getting to safety will protect not only you and your passengers but other motorists as well. Stopped vehicles can confuse and even lead to another wreck.
If your car is unsafe to drive or inoperable, leave it where it is and get yourself and any passengers to safety if possible.
Call 911 and Wait for Help
Even if your auto accident looks like a minor fender bender, call 911 and wait for help. Sometimes, the other driver will try to convince you this step isn’t necessary. In Texas, you are only legally required to report a crash if it is serious. However, it can be challenging to determine the severity of a collision at first glance. For example, you might feel fine but later develop injury symptoms. Or, you might think your car is clean but later notice damage or find that it isn’t running the same.
Without contacting 911, you won’t get an accident report from law enforcement. And if you attempt to file a claim, they will argue that you failed to follow the proper steps. Getting an accident report from law enforcement is essential if you hope to recover any kind of compensation from your crash.
Exchange Information and Document the Incident
If you aren’t too badly injured, exchange information with the other driver. If you like, you can keep a list of necessary info in your glove compartment, so you don’t forget.
You will need to collect:
- The location of the accident
- Type, color, and model of the vehicle(s)
- Full name and contact info of the driver(s)
- Their insurance company and policy number
- Their driver’s license and license plate number
In addition to getting the other driver’s information, gather as much detail as you can from the scene. Critical info might include the names and badge numbers of the responding officers, pictures of the location and all cars involved, and any witness names and contact information. Documenting as much detail as possible is helpful because it’s hard to count on memory alone during stressful events.
Get Prompt Medical Care
Once you’ve called 911 and filed an accident report, you must be examined by a doctor. While some injuries are immediately apparent, others are not. You or one of your passengers could have whiplash, internal bleeding, or a concussion without even knowing it.
A car accident doctor can examine you for any injuries and help put your mind at ease. Getting prompt medical care is also critical for filing an insurance claim. If you wait to visit a clinic, the adjuster can argue that you weren’t actually hurt or that your injuries occurred later.
Contact Your Insurer
Once you get the necessary medical attention, you can contact your insurer and start the claims process. Depending on your insurer, you might be able to get your car towed to a nearby shop and secure a rental car.
Your insurance company will walk you through the claims process step by step, so you know exactly what to expect. If you have injuries, you will need the proper documentation from your doctor to verify your claim. Car accident doctors treat car accident victims every day and know how to support you after a crash, including providing all the necessary documents.
A Car Accident Doctor Can Help
At Premier Injury Clinics of DFW, our skilled staff understands how discouraging accidents can be. We have doctors on-site at all times at six convenient locations. In addition to pain management and chiropractic care, we offer attorney referrals, specialist referrals, and diagnostic imaging referrals.
If you were in a car crash, come by our clinic for an expert evaluation. Your doctor will conduct tests that can detect injuries even before you feel them, accelerating your recovery. If you or a loved one were injured in a car crash, call us today. We offer complimentary transportation and kind, compassionate care.
Car Accident Doctor FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What kind of doctor should I see after a car accident?
At Premier Injury Clinics of DFW, we have doctors on staff at all times to treat car crash injuries. Our services aim to reduce pain, restore range of motion, and reduce the likelihood of recurring conditions. If you have whiplash, back pain, or neck pain after an accident, our knowledgeable staff can help.
What are the most common injuries after a car accident?
Typical car crash injuries include whiplash, concussion, fractured bones, strains and sprains, damaged soft tissue, and disc injuries. It’s sometimes difficult to tell right away if a car crash harmed you, but an auto accident doctor can professionally evaluate and diagnose your condition.
When should I see a car accident doctor?
Because symptoms are often delayed, seeing a car accident doctor right away is vital. Premier Injury Clinics of DFW offers chiropractic care and exercise rehabilitation. We can also refer you to trusted orthopedic surgeons and local attorneys.
How can a chiropractor help after an accident?
After a car accident, a chiropractor can use various tools and techniques to restore joint flexibility and realign vertebrae. Benefits of chiropractic care after a car crash include pain relief, reduced inflammation, reduced scar tissue, and improved range of motion.