What steps should you take after a car accident?
After a car crash, you may face a great deal of uncertainty. If you are injured, will you miss work? How will you afford vehicle repairs and medical costs? What should you do next? The steps that you take after a crash can be key.
1. Do what you can to protect your safety
Immediately after a crash, you should take steps to protect the safety of yourself or your passengers. Pull over to the side of the road if possible. Check yourself, your passengers and anyone else involved for injuries.
2. Contact the police
West Virginia law requires you to report an accident to the police immediately if anyone was injured in the crash or if the crash caused $1,000 or more in damage. However, even if your accident was seemingly minor it may be a good idea to call the police to file a car crash report. This report can be important when filing a claim with your insurance company.
3. Collect information
While the police will collect information when they arrive, it can be important to have that information yourself so that you can make a claim. Be sure to write down the other driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, car description, driver’s license number and insurance information.
You should also document other details. Write down the date and time of the accident, the accident’s location, any inclement weather or other conditions that were present and the events from your perspective. Photograph the scene of the crash, capturing multiple angles if possible. By documenting this information as soon as you are able, you can ensure that these details are not forgotten or overlooked.
4. Get medical attention
Even if your injuries do not seem serious, it can still be important to seek medical attention after a crash to document those injuries. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent—the symptoms of whiplash, for example, my take days to appear—and early treatment can help prevent those injuries from worsening.
5. Consider speaking to an attorney
It is important to know your options after a crash, and an attorney can guide you through those options. They can also help you deal with your insurance company and file a personal injury lawsuit if that is the right course of action for you.