If only there was a car accident checklist to help people know what to do and what not to do after a car crash…
If you’ve been involved in a car crash caused by another driver, there are steps that you can take to help your lawyer establish liability and damages in your case.
Below, we’ve created a “car accident checklist” with information on what you should do immediately after an accident and while your case is pending, including:
- What to do at the accident scene,
- What to do after the car accident,
- Evidence you can gather to help establish liability, and
- How to help your car accident attorney maximize your damages.
What To Do After A Car Accident
Your car accident claim begins at the scene of the accident – below is a car accident checklist for what you should do immediately after the crash that, hopefully, will help you to avoid some of the more common mistakes accident victims make.
What about after the accident? What can you do to maximize your chances of winning your case and getting full compensation for your injuries?
Below is also a car accident checklist for things you should do after the accident and while your case is pending.
Car Accident Checklist: At the Accident Scene
Stay At The Scene Of The Crash.
If you have been in an auto accident, stay at the scene of the crash.
Do not leave until law enforcement arrives to take a report because 1) depending on the circumstances, it is usually a crime to leave the scene of an accident, and 2) there are things you may need to do to protect your rights and to preserve evidence for a potential personal injury claim.
Call The Police.
You will need law enforcement to come out to the crash scene, investigate the accident, and make a preliminary determination as to who was at fault. If either party violated traffic laws, the responding officer may write a traffic ticket that can later be evidence of negligence per se.
Later, you or your attorney will need to get a copy of your accident report – the attorneys and insurance agents will look into the accident report first for the facts, so ensure that the responding officer has accurate information to include in their report.
Get Medical Assistance.
When you call for law enforcement, let them know if there are serious injuries, and an ambulance will respond.
Follow any recommendations by EMS workers, take the ambulance to the ER if recommended, and follow any recommendations made by the ER doctors.
Get Insurance Details.
Make sure you exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers. Check with the responding officer, because they might provide you with a document that contains insurance information for everyone involved in the crash.
Get Information On Eyewitnesses.
If you can do so safely, get the names and contact information for any witnesses to the collision. Although the responding officer should do this so you will have the information later, they will sometimes let people leave without taking down their information.
If you or the responding officer do not get the contact information for the eyewitnesses, it can be difficult or impossible for your attorney to track them down later.
Gather Evidence At The Scene.
If you can do so safely, use your smartphone to take photos or video of the roadway, damage to vehicles, and injuries at the accident scene.
The responding officer will write a report with their conclusions about the crash, but they will not always take photographs or video of the vehicles or injured parties.
Car Accident Checklist: After the Accident
Contact A Car Accident Lawyer.
Your first step after the crash should be to find an experienced auto accident attorney who can investigate your case and help you to get compensation from the insurance companies.
If you do not have an attorney on your side, the insurance adjuster will not believe there is a real threat of trial if they ignore your claim, and they will either 1) deny your claim or 2) attempt to get you to settle your case for “nuisance value” and release them from liability.
Establish Medical Care.
You must establish the need for medical care as soon as possible after the accident and follow up on any recommendations made by your doctors. In most cases, your damages are “anchored” by your medical bills and other costs that can be measured by an invoice or bill.
If you did not receive medical care immediately after the car wreck but then discover a severe injury days or weeks later, the insurance company will attempt to argue that 1) your injuries were not caused by the crash or 2) you are exaggerating your injuries.
Be aware of the signs and symptoms of delayed-onset injuries that may not be immediately apparent after your accident like brain injuries, spinal column injuries, soft tissue injuries, or internal bleeding.
Document All Receipts, Bills, And Invoices.
Collect, organize, and save copies of all medical bills, invoices, prescription medicine receipts, receipts for medical devices or equipment, and receipts for any medical care that relates to your auto accident injuries. Provide them to your car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Document Missed Work And Lost Wages.
You are entitled to compensation for lost wages (and loss of future earning potential), but you will have to prove 1) what your wages are and 2) the time you missed from work.
Provide copies of paycheck stubs, correspondence with your employer, and medical excuses regarding work or other activities to your attorney as soon as possible.
Get Written Estimates For Property Damage.
Get a written estimate from a qualified auto repair shop for repairs to your vehicle, including:
- The cost of repairs,
- The cost of replacement if the vehicle is totaled (including the costs of any upgrades or custom modifications to the vehicle),
- The diminution in value of your vehicle due to the crash, and
- The cost of a replacement rental vehicle while repairs are being made.
Document How The Crash Has Affected Your Life.
Keep a journal documenting how your ability to perform daily tasks, work a job, enjoy hobbies, or participate in other activities are affected by your injuries, and provide this information to your attorney.
Stay In Touch With Your Car Accident Lawyer.
Return phone calls from your attorney and make sure you are available when your attorney needs to contact you with questions about your case. Make yourself available for meetings with your attorney as well as any required court hearings, depositions, or settlement conferences.
Similarly, your attorney will make themselves available when you call with questions or to get a status update on your case.
Questions About What To Do After A Car Accident?
You can increase your chances of maximizing your auto accident settlement or verdict by using a car accident checklist and by providing your car accident lawyer with the information needed to establish liability and damages in your case.
If you have been in a car wreck that was caused by someone else’s negligence, do not lose hope! Call Northstate Auto Law now at 336-781-4606 or send us a message through our website to talk to an attorney who cares.