Few things are more disorienting than being in a car accident. In the immediate aftermath of a collision, it’s not unusual to feel dazed and unclear. Nevertheless, the actions you take just after a car accident can be important to your health—as well as your finances.
Indeed, our top advice for those involved in a car accident is to first seek the right medical care, and then to make sure you’re covering all your legal bases. This may require fighting for compensation—something a personal injury attorney can help you with.
To help clarify the right course of action, here’s a checklist—including some basic steps to follow should you ever be involved in a wreck.
CHECKLIST: WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
- First things first: Make sure everyone is safe. The first thing you should always do is check to make sure everyone is safe. If anyone involved in the accident is clearly injured, call 911 and get an ambulance sent right away.
- Contact the police. Whether or not you need an ambulance, you should always contact the police. An officer will show up to file a report, which provides a useful baseline of facts should you ever end up in court. Tell the police your story and always tell the truth, but avoid admitting any fault (even if you think you were at fault). Along the same lines, avoid apologizing to the other driver(s), which can be seen as an admission of fault.
- Collect information from the accident scene. Using your phone, take some snapshots of the accident scene—including the damaged areas of your vehicle, the license plate of the other vehicle(s) involved, and any damage done to medians, stop signs, etc. Also, ask for the name, contact information, and insurance provider of the other motorists. If there are any witnesses present, ask if you can get their information, too. Provide your own contact information to the other driver, if asked.
- Seek medical care. This one’s important. Assuming you don’t need an ambulance, head to your primary care doctor, or the nearest urgent care facility right away and ask to be checked out. It is extremely important at every stage of being treated to make sure you fully inform your doctors of ALL of your perceived injuries, even if seemingly minor. This enables the doctor to find any hidden injuries and identify all medical issues that may have been caused by your accident, so go even if you don’t feel like you need it! It also strengthens your legal case.
- Follow up on any medical advice. If your doctor asks you to take a prescription, come in for a follow-up appointment, or do physical therapy, do so—again, even if you don’t think you need it. The key point is that it is important for any future case that you listen to your doctors and follow their recommendations. Also, keep records of any and all medical appointments and medical expenses.
- Reach out to a personal injury attorney. Getting the right compensation from the insurance company isn’t always easy; remember, the insurance company ultimately wants to find a way to deny your claim, if possible. A car accident lawyer will help you file your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and prepare for court if needed.
- Don’t make any statements or accept any money from your insurance company. Avoid any contact with the insurance company unless your lawyer is present. Don’t underestimate the lengths the insurance adjuster might go to in order to trip you up or invalidate your claim.
By following these steps, you can ensure that you’re in a good place to recover from your accident—and also to get the compensation you deserve.
If you’re looking for a qualified and passionate car accident attorney in Houston, we invite you to contact our team at McLaurin Law today.
Jason McLaurin is a founding member of McLaurin Law. He has over a decade of experience representing clients at trial, arbitration, and mediation in matters concerning insurance policyholder recovery disputes, complex commercial litigation, and catastrophic personal injury claims. He also represents businesses as outside general counsel for clients in a variety of industries including construction, oil and gas, maritime, technology, and professional services. He is licensed and handles matters in both Texas and Louisiana.