Did you know that there are over 5 million car accidents in the United States annually, and 43% of these accidents result in injuries?
When you’re in a car crash, everything happens so quickly that it’s all too easy to forget the essential steps to take after the accident. The first thing to do is take the time to educate yourself beforehand so you aren’t left trying to pick up the pieces down the road.
Here is what to do at the scene of a car crash to make the entire process much more manageable.
Check for Injuries and Ensure Everyone is Safe
If there are apparent severe injuries, you’ll need to call 911 and the police immediately. Even if the accident is minor, it’s still best to call the police. In some states, the law requires you to call the police after a car accident occurs.
In Nevada, you must report an accident if the accident results in injury, death, or vehicle damage. If the police do not respond at the scene of the accident, you will need to go to the nearest police office immediately to file a report.
If the vehicles involved in the crash are still driveable, be sure to turn on the hazard lights and move them off the main road or to the side of the road. If you have flares or emergency cones, set them up to warn approaching drivers.
If there is any smoke or flames, ensure everyone is away from the vehicle.
Exchange Information With Other Drivers
Now that you’ve established everyone is safe, you’ll need to exchange information with the other driver involved.
It’s best to limit your communication with the other driver and stick to gathering information. Be sure not to admit guilt, blame the other driver, or discuss insurance policy limits. This way, you won’t run into problems later if there are arguments over car accident liability.
You’ll need to collect information about the other driver and accident scene and take photos, such as:
- Driver’s license
- Insurance company and policy number
- Telephone number
- Police officer’s name and badge number
- Police report number
- Witness contact information
- Determine if the other driver owns the vehicle they’re driving
- Vehicle make and model
Document the Accident Scene
Your next step is to document the accident scene thoroughly. Be sure to record as many details as possible, including pictures, videos, and voice recordings of what you’re seeing.
You’ll need to start by taking pictures of all the damage to your car and the other driver’s car. Take as many pictures as possible, both up close and from a distance. Be sure to capture every angle of both vehicles. Don’t forget to include a picture of the other driver’s license plates.
Next, take a picture of the position of both vehicles in relation to the road. Check for skid marks and property damage. Make a note of the street names and record the exact time and date of the accident.
Finally, take detailed notes about what happened. Talk about the weather conditions and the speed you were driving. Additionally, it’s a good idea to draw a diagram of the crash scene if possible.
It’s important to remember that some insurance companies, such as Allstate, have smartphone apps that will help you document the crash’s details and even upload pictures.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, you may need to contact your car insurance company to report the accident when another driver is involved.
If you don’t file a claim, but the other driver files a claim, you might not receive insurance coverage for the accident.
You’ll find the claim information on your insurance card. It’s relatively simple to start filing a claim, and you can begin the process online most of the time.
Get a Medical Checkup
Another critical thing to remember is not to minimize any pain or potential injuries because this might cost you later. Even if you don’t have any severe injuries that require immediate medical attention, it’s still important to get a medical evaluation.
Initially, you’ll run on adrenaline and might not notice much pain or problems moving around.
However, injuries like whiplash often don’t show symptoms immediately—whiplash results when your head and neck are forced backward and forward suddenly. Symptoms of whiplash usually take at least 24 hours to appear and can last for a few weeks.
Whiplash can also result in headaches or chronic pain. Damage to discs, neck joints, tendons, and ligaments can also occur.
Concussions, back injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are also common after car accidents.
If you have any apparent injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or redness, it is important to take photographs of those injuries and their progressions over the next several days or weeks.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer
It’s best to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer after your accident for legal advice.
Remember, car accidents can become complicated when other people are involved. What might seem like a straightforward accident in the beginning can turn into something else quickly.
In addition, Nevada is a modified comparative negligence state. This means you can still recover damages if you’re partially at fault, but the amount of money you receive will be reduced according to your percentage of negligence.
It’s also important to remember that insurance companies are not on your side and will look to reduce the compensation you receive. Insurance companies conduct an investigation of their own and will determine fault based on their findings.
A personal injury lawyer will help you navigate these potential problems and ensure you get fair compensation.
Find an Experienced Attorney After Your Car Crash
If you’ve recently been in a car crash, it’s essential not to try and handle everything on your own.
You don’t have to look any further than Kaplan Young for your injury legal needs. We have experience in all areas of personal injury law in Las Vegas, like car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and more.
Kaplan Young can also you in the property damage/replacement portion of your vehicle for no additional fee.
We can help you get the compensation you deserve after a car accident and relieve the stress you’re feeling. Contact us today so we can review your case during a free initial consultation!