After a car accident, there is so much going on that you may not know exactly what you need to do. Even in accidents that seem minor, there could be serious injuries. Still, you may not realize it until the adrenaline wears off. Herniated discs are caused by trauma like you may encounter in a car accident. What should you do if you end up with one of these injuries following a car accident?
Steps That Should Be Taken After a Car Accident
The moments following an accident are crucial. From the scene of the accident to the individuals involved, every piece of the puzzle is important. Not all injuries that are sustained in an accident are immediately noticed by the individuals involved. That is why following all of the critical steps after an accident is important.
Step One: Safety and Injuries
Even though you might feel like you are completely disoriented after an accident, you need to quickly evaluate the situation. If you can do so, stop and assess yourself and your injuries. Many accident victims don’t realize they are injured until after the adrenaline has worn off, so mentally focusing head to toe may help reduce further injury.
Neck and spinal injuries are common among car accident victims. When the intervertebral discs in between your vertebrae are damaged, it can lead to herniated discs. Herniated discs can take some time to heal. If they are severe enough, surgery and physical therapy may be needed to regain a quality of life.
Even if there are no visible injuries, now is when 911 should be called, and the police and EMS services come to the scene.
Step Two: Waiting for Help
If you can move your vehicle to a safer area, this should be done so that the surrounding traffic can flow and the vehicles are no longer in a direct line of danger. If the vehicle cannot be moved, you can wait for the police and subsequent towing companies to be dispatched.
As you wait, it is advisable not to talk to the others involved in the accident. Making small talk could inadmissibly be used against you, so it is always best to wait for the police to arrive and allow them to compile a report (and determine the blame) on the accident.
You can begin to exchange information with one another, which will also be used on the police report. Ensure the police officer reporting to the scene gives you their name and badge number for your personal records.
Step Three: Fact Gathering and the Police Report
For your records, you need to get this information from the other driver:
- Phone Number
- Driver’s License Number
- License Plate Number
- Insurance Information (Company and Policy Number)
You also want to document and even photograph with your cell phone the surrounding area and the scene. The surrounding area is important because it helps to provide some context to the accident. Was it raining? Is there a tree blocking the view?
Try to gather as much as you can, including:
- The date and time of the accident
- Where the accident occurred – the road you were on and the nearest cross street
- The direction of the cars involved
- The driving conditions
- Your statement about what happened
The longer you wait to make your statement about the accident, the more likely you are to forget important aspects. You may want to try to find other people who witnessed the accident and get their statements as well.
Step Four: Submit Insurance Claims
After an accident, you will want to tell your insurance company that you were in an accident. They will ask you for the information and likely request a copy of the accident report from the police station. You provide them with the information you gathered about the other driver. (The other driver should be doing the same thing.)
If you haven’t heard from the other driver’s insurance company within a few days of the accident, you can reach out to them, however, do not give any sort of recorded statements about the accident. You should always speak to legal counsel before giving any kind of statement to an insurance company.
Step Five: Get a Lawyer
In many cases, steps four and five mingle with one another. After an accident, dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming for an accident victim, which is why they allow their legal counsel to handle it. If you haven’t already sought professional counsel for a car accident, it is in your best interest to do so. Lawyers handle the insurance companies and gain maximum compensation for injuries and other accident-related expenses.