Car accidents occur without any real warning. In the blink of an eye, many people across Iowa suffer serious injuries in wrecks. The experience is traumatic and the scene in the immediate aftermath is often chaotic. Because nobody plans on being in a crash, most people do not know what to do after being in a wreck. For that reason, we have compiled a short (and non-exhaustive) list of the top 6 things to do after an accident.
Be aware of your surroundings and remain safe
Many accidents occur in heavy traffic. Cars, trucks, and other vehicles may continue to flow, with drivers rubber-necking as they pass by. While it may seem unnatural to think of safety after an accident, it is important to understand that other drivers may make mistakes that lead to additional accidents and pile-ups on the highway.
Remain at the scene and call 911
If you are able to pull out of traffic to a safer location along the shoulder – do so. Try to evaluate whether any passengers in your vehicle have suffered an injury. It is critical to remain at the scene and call the police.
Gather as much information as you can
If you are able to safely move around, gather information at the scene. Most people know to exchange insurance and identification information from other drivers. However, if any witnesses have remained at the scene, getting their information can help you to get a more complete picture of what happened.
If you have a Smartphone, take photos of the location of the vehicles, the damage, and the surroundings. At each stage, while still at the scene of the accident, it is critical to remain aware of your surroundings to remain safe. Do not step into harm’s way of gathering information and evidence.
Do not admit fault
Understand that in the immediate aftermath of a crash, drivers may not fully grasp the full context of what went wrong in causing the accident. Avoid speaking about the accident to others at the scene, other than to obtain their possible statements. You do not have to explain what happened to the other driver or witnesses. While it is important to cooperate with police, you do not have to admit fault. Let the investigation progress without discussing fault.
Do not give the insurance companies reason to deny any claim
It is often tempting to speak with insurance adjusters or claims representatives directly. It is important to protect your rights after a traumatic event. Reporting the accident to your own agent is important. Before speaking to adjusters or investigators from the insurance companies – especially the other driver’s provider – it is important to consult with an attorney who can advise you on the best way to proceed.
Get medical attention
Immediately after a crash, the body’s response includes the release of adrenaline and you may not necessarily feel pain right away. Moreover, the symptoms of some injuries are often delayed for days, weeks or longer. You may not feel injured right away, but after being in a car accident it is still important to see your doctor if the first responders do not transport you to the hospital due to severe and obvious injuries.