There are moments that change everything – a car accident is one of those times. In an instant your body and finances feel the accident’s stress. Pain in your neck and your pocket can leave you wondering what to do next. This checklist will help direct you to what questions to ask and what should be done first after an automobile accident – especially one where you’ve sustained a motor vehicle accident injury. Review these seven steps, print and share with your friends and family. Being prepared can make all the difference after a car crash.
1) Determine Injuries
Stay as calm as possible and assess if anyone in the accident has injuries that need immediate medical attention. Also take note of more minor injuries as they may necessitate attention within the following weeks.
2) File a Car Accident Report with the Police
Even in a minor accident it is important to make sure there is a legal accident report. Do not leave the scene until the police file a full report. For minor accidents that police may not arrive on scene for – make sure to file an accident report at the police station or online via the Department of Motor Vehicle website.
3) Limit Discussion of the Accident to the Police
After an car crash it is often hard to think clearly and accurately about all the accident details. Because of this it is important to limit your discussion of the accident and not admit any fault or liability. Do not say “I’m sorry” during any conversation as it could be used against you later in court. Talk about the accident with the police and your insurance agent only.
4) Take Pictures & Record the Facts
It is vital to get the name, address and phone number of everyone involved in the accident. Also make sure you write down a description of the vehicles, license plate numbers, insurance information, and vehicle identification numbers. The VIN is important to have after a car accident as many insurance companies will only record the car type and vehicle identification number, but not the license plate number as those can easily change. Take pictures if possible. In this age of camera phones it is easy to snap a few quick shots of the damage to your vehicle, accident location, and people involved with the accident. Taking this extra step can go a long way days or weeks after the car accident when memories and details begin to fade.
5) Call Your Insurance Agent
Call your agent as soon as possible after the accident. If you’re able to speak at the scene of the accident, often the police can give your insurance company more accurate detail as they are an emotionally removed 3rd party. When it comes to processing your claim, this can save you a lot of time.
6) Document Your Injuries with a Doctor
Visit a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Even if you feel fine, less severe injuries or symptoms may turn into something more in the days following the accident. Any pain, discomfort, dizziness or numbness should be documented and be checked out by a medical professional. The longer you wait to seek medical attention, the more difficult it becomes to prove the injuries are related to the car crash. When visiting a chiropractic clinic after a car accident a chiropractors will help evaluate your personal injuries and also provide documentation necessary for a bodily injury claim.
7) Talk with a Lawyer
Do not sign any document you don’t understand. Protect yourself by talking with a personal injury lawyer and ensuring your rights are protected after a serious car accident – especially if you suspect you may share fault.
Beebe Chiropractic & Wellness Center is located in Tigard, OR within the Portland Metro area. Dr. Daniel Beebe cares for patients with sports, work & auto injuries, neck pain & lower back pain, headaches & migraines, chronic pain, scoliosis and more. For more information visit BeebeChiro.com.