Having a plan can help you remain focused and calmer in the aftermath of a car accident. Prepare by having the right tools in your car, like a pen and paper and tool to cut a seatbelt or break out a window. Understanding what you need to do and how your body may be responding will help you to calmly address the situation.
After an accident…
Any sort of accident will trigger your fight or flight response. Take a moment to breathe deeply and try to slow your breathing, you don’t want to hyperventilate. Be calm and polite to the other driver, no matter who you think is at fault. You are both in a stressful situation, a little courtesy can go a long way.
If you are able to move the vehicles to a safer location, do so. Turn on your flashers and turn off your vehicle. Be aware of other vehicles, make sure that everyone that can walk has moved to a safe location. If you (or your passengers, the other driver, or any passengers in their car) are visibly injured or suffering immediate pain call 911 and explain the situation. Stay on the line until the operator tells you that you can hang up.
If no one is visibly injured or in immediate pain contact the police. Cooperate with the police and be honest. If there is a question of fault, you may want to speak to a lawyer. Take photos of all the damage, even if the police or other driver are already taking pictures. Photograph skid marks on the road, the interior of the vehicles, broken glass, the license plates; you won’t be able to recreate the scene, so take as many pictures as you can. Remember to be aware of your surroundings and watch for traffic while you are taking pictures.
Get the name, address, driver’s license number, and telephone number of the other driver. Write down their license plate number and vehicle identification number. Get information from anyone who witnessed the accident, as well as the information for the officer that is writing the report. Make notes on everything you can while the details are still fresh in your mind; what time the accident occurred, the weather, any statements from the other driver, all of these things can become fuzzy over time, it is important to have them in writing.
Do not sign anything releasing someone from responsibility or regarding fault. If you feel uncomfortable call a lawyer. Report the incident to your insurance company. Consult a doctor, even if you feel fine. You will want an examination to make note of any possible injuries for you own benefit, as well as having it on hand to show to an insurance company.
We understand that car accidents are traumatic. You suddenly have all of these extra things on your plate, your car may be totalled, you may be going back and forth with the insurance companies, you are probably mentally and physically drained. We want to help.
Our office works with many people that have been involved in a car accident. We can help with transportation if your vehicle is not safe to drive. Dr. Adam Elsey will help you understand and identify the injuries that you may not even feel yet. We know that a collision can completely derail your life for a while, we want to help get you back to your normal life as quickly as possible, give us a call!