Naturally, the first moments after a car accident are incredibly overwhelming, between injuries, property damage, and of course pure shock. At Hancock Law, we aim to help clients by guiding them through the legal process around car accidents to help alleviate the stress of it all. In this blog post, we’re sharing the top five things to do in the immediate aftermath of a car accident.
Of course, you want to get the other driver’s car insurance information. This is the most important. The other driver will likely do the same, but we recommend you not speak to the other driver’s insurance company at any point moving forward. All communication with them should happen via your personal injury attorney. Also, if possible, get the names and numbers of any witnesses. Even where liability is 100% clear on the at-fault driver, these witnesses can have all kinds of other useful bits of information that will be helpful: the force of impact, speed of the other party, whether the other party was on the phone, etc.
Naturally, follow your best judgment in prioritizing this. If you or a passenger in your vehicle are severely injured, call 911 and stay in the vehicle. Hancock Law always recommends prioritizing health and seeking treatment. This applies at the scene of the accident but also throughout the lifetime of your personal injury case. Insurance companies will gain access to the vehicles very quickly, and once vehicles are repaired, evidence that could be crucial to your personal injury case is decimated. If you are not able to get property damage pictures at the scene, we at Hancock Law can try to get them before they are repaired (assuming, of course, you call us asap after your collision).
Emergency Medical Services (“EMS”) almost always arrive on scene following a collision. Before they arrive, contact a friend or loved one to help you in this moment of stress. They can help document the accident, takes pictures if you are unable, help with children, find out where your vehicle is being towed, etc. We have even seen an injured spouse choose her husband over EMS to take her to the hospital.
Even if you think your injuries are not that serious, it’s prudent to see a medical professional. We recommend going to the emergency room via EMS directly from the scene of the collision. This is scary, but remember that we are ultimately battling an insurance company that will automatically take the position that you are not hurt at all or not seriously hurt. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment as soon as you reasonably can, ideally in the first 24 hours, is very important.
This is last, but certainly not least. The first 24 hours after an accident are some of the most crucial. Video surveillance, if it exists at all, does not exist for long. Witnesses forget what they saw/heard. Physical evidence disappears or is destroyed. Calling both your car insurance to file the claim and a personal injury attorney as soon as possible — after seeking medical treatment as needed — should be a top priority. Though it may be tempting, do not settle for a hassle-free resolution or just getting your car repaired. If you’re in a car accident and are not at fault, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
If you were recently involved in a car accident in the Port Charlotte or DeSoto County, Florida area and are seeking representation, contact Kenneth Hancock and team today.