What should I do right after being in an auto accident?

Written by Michael Wade, April 8, 2021

Whether you have never been in an automobile accident or are a seasoned veteran of the Phoenix roadways, you should be prepared if you are ever in a car accident.  There are over five million car accidents in the United States each year, with over three million injured people, so it is important to know a few of the steps to follow.

If you are injured in a car accident, you could end up missing work and struggling with expensive medical bills. If you decide to take legal action against the negligent party, the compensation you receive could help cover your losses. Following these steps can certainly assist your accident attorney in optimizing the value of your case.

  1. Safety First – Make sure that you are safe.

You might feel disoriented after a car crash. That is normal. Take a deep breath and try to focus. Then, turn your hazard lights on.  Place your personal safety above all else.

Also, make sure to remain at the scene of the crash. Leaving the scene could put you at risk. It could also make it difficult for you to later file a claim.  If you leave a car accident in which someone was injured or killed, you could find yourself in significant legal trouble. So stay where you are and try to remain calm.

  1. Call the Police.

In the meantime, call 911 to seek police interaction at the accident scene to assess your injuries and negligence of the drivers.

If you are okay to move, you can check on the other drivers involved in the crash, to see if they are safe. But do not get into conversations with them regarding the accident.

  1. Assess your injuries.

In many cases, you will not feel pain from an injury for three days after the crash. That is because your adrenaline is usually working overtime right after a wreck. This might prevent you from feeling pain or realizing you have been injured until after you have calmed down. This could be hours or even days later.

Strongly consider going to the emergency room, visiting your family doctor, or perhaps an urgent care clinic. This will help determine if you have any injuries, and how they need to be addressed.

  1. Seek out information.

The police will take an accident report, which will help an attorney when evaluating your legal case. This report will detail what happened, document all parties involved, and provide information that an attorney’s office will need.  Also, try to get the investigating officer’s name and badge number, as well as the report number so that you can obtain a copy when it is ready.  While you wait for the police to assess the car wreck, collect the information you need for your claim. For example, you will need the other driver’s:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information

Next, take a look around. Gather information about details regarding the auto accident (what happened both before and after). For example:

  • The date and time of the accident
  • Where the accident occurred
  • The road you were on
  • The nearest cross street
  • Which direction you and the other car were traveling
  • The driving conditions.
  • Your recollection of what happened.

In the days after the wreck, you will likely forget certain details of what happened. So try to take these notes while you’re still on the scene. That way, you will have the facts and what you remember documented while they are still fresh in your memory. If you cannot take notes at the scene, try and do it as soon as you are back home, after the wreck.

Did anyone else witness the crash? Take down their contact information as well. Your attorney can contact them later to get their account of what happened.

Lastly, try to get as many photos as you can. Your insurance company will want photo evidence when you make your claim. Try and take photos of the following:

  • How and where the cars are located?
  • Where on the street the accident occurred?
  • Signs of the closest crossroads
  • Property damage
  • Injuries
  1. Waiting at accident scene.

Avoid small talk while you wait for the police to arrive. Also, it is essential that you do not offer your opinion about what caused the crash. Instead, exchange the necessary information and wait for the police to arrive.

The less you say regarding the crash, the better.

  1. If contacted by other driver’s insurance company…

When talking to the other insurance company, offer only the most basic information as possible. What is more, if you are going to get an attorney involved, do NOT give a recorded statement. These usually come back to hurt your case and can be used against you by the insurance company.

 

  1. Call Wade & Nysather – Your Accident Attorneys.

Call an accident attorney.  We hope that you consider us, but most importantly call an attorney and talk to them about the wreck, your medical treatment, and any other information you think is important so they can evaluate your case.

Choosing a law firm that is experienced in auto accident cases can help you get the compensation you are entitled to. So call Wade & Nysather, AZ Accident Attorneys at (602) 547-2222 for your FREE consultation!