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All car accidents are stressful and scary, even minor fender benders. And in the moments directly after an accident — when you’re juggling feelings of shock, fear, anxiety, anger, and possibly pain — it’s easy to panic and not remember the necessary steps to take. 


We’re here to help you overcome those moments of panic and indecision. The process of resolving a car accident involves taking a few straightforward steps to protect yourself and your property. Keep reading to learn what you should and shouldn’t do following a car crash. 

1. Should I Call the Police? 

Yes, you should call law enforcement to report a car crash. Determine whether you or anyone involved is injured and needs immediate medical attention. If that’s the case, call 911 right away to get an ambulance and the police to the scene. 


Even if no one is injured, you should still call the police to report the accident. An official police report will help your insurance company and lawyer investigate the accident and establish fault during the claims process. 


What about a minor fender bender with no injuries? Consider playing it safe and calling the police anyway. If car damages or injuries appear at a later date, you’ll need official documentation of the accident to file a claim with your insurance. 


In some cases, the other driver might try to pressure you into handling the incident without calling the police. He or she may offer to give you money directly to pay for injuries or damages. This is incredibly dangerous for several reasons. First, the other driver isn’t held to any obligation to follow through on a promise to give you money. Second, injuries and damages may be worse than they appear at the scene. If you’ve already accepted money from the other driver, you could be out thousands of dollars to pay the difference. 


In these situations, listen to your own mind, and not the other driver. Do what you need to do to protect yourself, even if that means angering the other driver by calling the police. 

2. Should I Gather Information Myself?

Yes, you shouldn’t rely solely on the police report and your own memory. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, get some information from the other driver — their name, contact info, insurance info, license plate number, and car make/model. Take pictures of both cars and the surrounding area. You should also take a few minutes to jot down how the accident occurred, from your point of view. Remember to include the accident location, direction each vehicle was traveling, traffic conditions, weather, and road conditions. 


After the police draw up a report, take down the reporting officer’s name, contact info, and badge number. Request a copy of the police report or obtain a report number to look it up later. 

3. Should I Discuss the Accident With the Other Driver?

No, you shouldn’t discuss the accident or fault with the other driver. Limit your interaction to obtaining contact information and offering assurance that help is on the way. Only discuss details of the accident with the police, your insurance company, and your lawyer. 

4. Do I Need to File an Insurance Claim?

Yes, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Your insurance company will inform you of your coverages for car damages and medical expenses and help you file a claim. Once you’ve filed a claim, your insurance company and the other’s driver’s insurance carrier will investigate the accident, determine fault, and reach a compensation agreement. 


Make sure to be completely honest with your insurance company and give them all the information you’ve collected about the crash. 

5. Should I See a Doctor Right Away? Even If I Feel Fine?

Yes, you should absolutely see a doctor after a car accident. Instead of seeing your primary care physician (PCP), arrange to see an orthopedic specialist with experience treating common car crash injuries like whiplash, fractures, concussions, contusions, sprains and strains, and neck or back pain. Even if you’re not feeling any pain, a specialist can perform a routine examination and tell you the signs and symptoms to monitor yourself for. Keep in mind that not all accident injuries appear immediately — some injuries may not present for hours, days, or weeks after an accident. After a crash, you should vigilantly monitor yourself for abnormal symptoms and call your doctor if you begin having pain. 


One fast and convenient way to get checked for injuries after a car accident is to visit an ortho urgent care clinic. At BEST Surgery and Therapies, our urgent care clinic provides same-day evaluation, diagnosis, and care. Skip the long wait times in the ER and stop by BEST’s urgent ortho care instead. 

6. Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?

It depends. If you’re in an accident with no major damages or injuries, you can probably work directly with your insurance company to settle a claim. However, if you’ve been seriously injured, fault is in question, or your insurance company is giving you pushback, you could benefit from hiring an attorney. An experienced Cincinnati personal injury attorney will represent you to the insurance companies and make sure you receive a fair settlement. 

BEST Treats Personal Injury and Car Accident Injuries

If you were in a car accident today or recently, trust BEST Surgery and Therapies to help you get back on your feet. We deliver the highest-quality orthopedic and spine care in Cincinnati, OH.   


We have a quick-reply scheduling service that allows rapid patient access to our modern healthcare facility, where we provide same-day surgical care, urgent injury evaluation, and diagnostic and preventative measures. Please call us to speak with a dedicated Patient Experience Coordinator.


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