Injured in a Car Accident? 7 Steps You Need To Take Immediately

Personal injury lawyer Mark Perenich offers advice on the seven most important steps to take immediately after you have been injured in a car accident.

Man and woman in car with airbags deployed and smoke coming from dash
Headshot of man in blue suit with grey hair and glasses

Mark H. Perenich

April 1, 2024 12:00 PM

The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. You may be unsure of what steps to take or how to pay for your bills while you are injured and unable to work. Here are the most important steps to take immediately after being involved in a car crash and soon afterward.

1. Get Medical Care as Soon as Possible

Your health should be your top priority after an accident. Whether you have suffered a severe injury or seemingly minor bruises and scrapes, seeking medical attention immediately is crucial.

Do not assume you are uninjured even if you feel fine after your accident. The adrenaline and shock can easily mask injuries like concussions, and symptoms of some injuries simply take time to develop.

Prompt medical attention is the best way to make sure your injuries are detected and treated. It also strengthens your claim against someone who caused your accident.

Insurance companies often use a delay in medical treatment to argue your injuries were not caused by the accident or not as serious as you claim. A delay in care can even make you partially responsible for your damages if it causes your injuries to worsen.

2. Do Not Admit Fault

The moments after a motor vehicle accident can be disorienting and emotional. Its common to want to apologize or explain. You should check on anyone else involved in the accident to see if they need help but be careful with what you say.

Saying Im sorry” may feel like a natural thing to say to someone who is hurt, even in a situation that is clearly not your fault. These statements, even if well-intentioned, can harm your case.

Refrain from making any statements that could be construed as an admission of fault. The insurance company may use this against you to deny liability for your damages, even if the other party caused the accident.

3. Call the Police

Call the police to respond to the scene of the car accident. In some areas, police do not routinely respond to minor crashes unless they are called.

A police report will be helpful when making a claim for your damages. The responding officer will include a description of the scene, damage to vehicles, weather conditions and their opinion on what happened.

4. Document the Accident Scene and Your Injuries

If you can, document whatever you can at the scene of your accident. Take photos and video of the scene, vehicle damage and position, and any details that seem relevant. Get contact information from any witnesses, as they can provide testimony that strengthens your claim.

Make sure you take photos of your injuries after the accident. Its a good idea to document the healing process to demonstrate the severity of your injuries.

5. Get the Other Partys Contact and Insurance Information

After an accident, you should get the following information from the other driver or drivers:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Insurance information
  • Drivers license number (if asked)

Its also a good idea to exchange phone numbers, names of passengers and license plate numbers.

If the other driver refuses to exchange information, get as much information as possible, including their license plate number and photos of the vehicle. Inform the police; they will take over.

6. Notify Your Insurance Company

Every insurance company has its own time limit for reporting accidents. As a general rule, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, ideally within a few days. Keep this contact brief; simply inform them the accident occurred.

Do not give a formal statement or go into great detail until you speak with an injury lawyer if you were injured, as these statements can be used against you.

7. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

Finally, contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as you can after your accident, especially if your injuries are serious or you are being blamed for the accident. Your lawyer will protect your rights and act in your best interests to negotiate a fair settlement agreement. Legal representation is important to fight back against any attempts to shift blame and avoid mistakes that can damage your case.

Mark H. Perenich is one of the founding attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers, a personal injury law firm located in Southern Florida, with offices in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers has over 300 years of combined experience helping injured victims. If you or a family member were involved in an accident and are suffering the consequences of it due to someone else’s negligence, contact us today; we offer a free initial evaluation.

Headline Image: Adobe Stock/Monkey Business

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