You’ve been in a car accident. Now what? The weeks and months following a car accident can be confusing, stressful, and frustrating. You may be injured and out of work. Your car may be totaled. You may be dealing with insurance adjusters, repair shops, and attorneys.
It’s important to know what to do immediately following an accident, how to document the accident scene, the importance of seeking medical attention, filing an insurance claim, what to expect during the legal process, and how to handle stress during this time. Read on to know more.
Table of Contents
Immediately Following the Accident:
The moments immediately following a car accident are often chaotic. It’s important to stay calm and take some deep breaths. Once you’ve done that, you can assess the situation. If you’re able to do so, turn on your hazard lights and move your car to the side of the road.
Once you’re out of harm’s way, check yourself for injuries and then check on the wellbeing of your passengers. If anyone is seriously injured, call the helpline number right away. The most important role is played by the accident claim for your vehicle.
Documenting the Accident Scene:
It’s important to document the accident scene as best you can. Exchange details with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Get their name, contact information, insurance information, and license plate number. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information as well.
Take pictures of the damage to all of the vehicles involved in the accident as well as any debris on the road. Take pictures of road signs or traffic signals at or near the scene of the accident if they played a role in causing or contributing to the accident. The more information and evidence you have, the better.
Filing an Insurance Claim:
Contact your insurance company as soon after the accident as possible to file a claim. Be prepared to provide them with all of the documentation listed above—names, contact information, insurance information from other drivers involved in the accident, etc.—as well as any other information they request from you such as a police report or medical records. The insurance claim will help you to fix the legal requirements.
What to Expect During The Legal Process:
If another driver was at fault for causing an accident that left you injured, you may decide that you want to file a personal injury lawsuit against them in addition to filing an insurance claim against their insurer. If so, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is a good first step. An attorney can review your case and help you understand what options are available to you moving forward.
How To Handle Stress During This Time:
Dealing with a car accident is never easy, but there are some things you can do proactively to manage stress during this time:
- First, make sure you have a support system in place — whether it’s family, friends, or professionals — who can help care for children, and pets, or handle other responsibilities while you focus on recovery.
- Second, stay on top of paperwork and deadlines by using a planner or scheduling app. Third, eat healthy foods and exercise regularly — both help reduces stress.
- Understandably, you may need some time to grieve and feel overwhelmed after an accident. Consider giving yourself the latitude to experience those emotions without judgment.
A car accident is never something anyone wants to go through but unfortunately, they happen every day. Knowing what to expect in the weeks and months following an accident can help reduce some of the stress associated with the process.