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What should I do after being in a car crash?

Being in a car crash can be so unexpected and frightening that you may feel a little stunned once it is all over. Because the experience can be so startling, people sometimes find it difficult to determine what actions they should take after the crash. To help avoid this moment of confusion, it can be helpful to know ahead of time what actions you should take in this situation.

Actions to take immediately following the crash

If your vehicle and another vehicle collide, be sure to stop your car immediately and turn on your hazard lights. If your vehicle is blocking traffic and it is safe to move it, you should do so.

Check yourself over for injuries. Then check to see if anyone else involved in the crash was injured. If there are any injuries, call 911 right away and request an ambulance. Do not move anyone who could have a spinal injury because the movement could make his or her injury worse.

Signs someone could have a spinal injury include:

  • An apparent head injury and loss of consciousness
  • An apparent blow to the back of the head
  • Complaints of severe pain in his or her neck or back
  • Complaints of weakness, numbness or paralysis
  • Lack of control of his or her limbs, bladder or bowels
  • A neck or body positioned oddly

Call police

It is often a good idea to call police after any car crash. In some areas, police try to respond to every crash, though that is not true everywhere. If police respond to the incident, they can help document it, which could be helpful for any insurance claims or personal injury cases that may come as a result of the crash.

Gather information

Exchange names, addresses, telephone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information with all other drivers involved in the crash. Consider also gathering names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the crash. If you have a cellphone or camera with you in the car, it may also be helpful to take photos of the accident scene and the damage to each vehicle. The information you gather at the scene can become helpful later on.

Follow up

After you have permission to leave the scene, there are some addition follow-up actions you should consider taking as soon as possible. One is to notify your insurance company of the accident, so it can prepare to file a claim and prepare to respond to any claim filed against it.

Another action you should consider taking is to schedule a check-up appointment with your doctor. Even if you do not think you are injured, an examination can help rule out any injuries that may not show symptoms right away.

Finally, you should report the accident to the Department of Motor vehicles. This must be completed within 10 days if there were any injuries or if the vehicle damage is valued over $750.

It is never fun to be involved in a car crash, especially if you are injured by it. However, if you are seriously injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, it may be appropriate to seek compensation for your medical expenses.

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