Getting into a car accident can be a frightening experience. Even if there aren't any serious repercussions from the accident, the sudden jolt of impact, honking of horns, and angry words between drivers is enough to make anybody's blood pressure rise. That being said, there are a series of important steps you need to take once you've been in a car accident if you want to make sure it doesn't come back to bite you. Here are five things you'll definitely want to do following a car crash.
Exchange driver information
Assuming that neither driver is seriously injured, it's imperative that you get contact information as well as insurance information. Even if neither of you feels like they're hurt or their vehicle has sustained any damage, you never know what might pop up later down the line. Especially if you aren't at fault for the accident, it's crucial that you get the other driver's information if you plan on being able to press charges if necessary.
Call the police
If someone has been hurt or if either vehicle got damaged (even the fender or bumper!), you'll want to call the police and file a report. Most insurers will want to know that a police report has been filed before helping you, and, especially in cases where charges must be pressed, a written report will help corroborate your testimony in a court of law. If any witnesses saw the accident happen and have stopped to help, make sure that they wait to give their perspective to the officers who arrive, too.
Get a health screening
Even if you feel okay, a car accident can sometimes cause whiplash or other traumatic head injuries whose symptoms take a while to manifest. As such, it's always a good idea to get screened by a doctor following any car crash, just to be on the safe side. This is also helpful when it comes to establishing a baseline in case other symptoms or complications do seem to develop a few days or weeks after the accident.
File an insurance claim
You'll want to get on the phone with your auto insurer following an accident to let them know what happened, too. It isn't a bad idea to have a mechanic inspect your vehicle to make sure that no underlying issues were aggravated as a result of the accident, and to get a repair quote to share with your insurance agency. Insurance claims can take a while to be processed, so do this sooner than later if you need your insurer to help pay for any damages.
Treat any injuries or damages
If your car has been damaged or you've sustained an injury because of an accident, it's important to seek out treatment as soon as possible. One of the most common side effects of a car accident is tinnitus, or the feeling of a ringing or rushing sound in your ears. Many people overlook tinnitus is just a nuisance to deal with; however, tinnitus therapy from qualified audiologists can help address your tinnitus and even reduce its impact in your life. Hearing centers like Hearing Health USA, conveniently located in multiple locations across the country, can help you get your hearing on track.
If you're worried about how you're going to pay for vehicle repairs or medical treatment, you aren't alone. Many Americans don't have enough money saved for an emergency cost, and not everyone has family members or friends they're willing to ask for money (or can even tap for equity in the first place.) Thankfully, car accident lawyers can help you file a personal injury lawsuit if you weren't at fault for the accident to help you cover a portion of the costs.
Many personal injury lawyers, such as Jacoby and Meyers, a New York auto accident lawyer, offer free case evaluations to help you determine what the likelihood is of you winning your court case or settling out of court. Having legal representation to help you manage the negative emotions you associate with the accident and offer you sound legal advice can be the difference between paying your bills yourself or having a settlement cover the full cost.