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On average, there are 6 million car accidents in the United States every year. Chances are that you’ll be involved in a car accident at some point in your life, even if you’re a careful and safe driver. 

 

If you were in a car accident today, would you know what to do? Below, we’ve listed 5 steps you should take immediately after an auto accident to protect your health, safety and well-being.  

1. Assess Your Personal Safety

After a car crash, it’s normal to feel shocked, disoriented, detached, shaky or even dizzy. High-impact collisions cause a major adrenaline rush, which can mask aches, pains and abnormal feelings directly following impact. 

 

First, make sure you’re in a safe place. If you smell gas or see smoke or flames, get away from the car immediately. If you’re safe where you are, turn off the ignition and turn on the hazard lights to warn other drivers of the accident. Once you’ve confirmed your safety, take a moment to breathe in a few calming breaths and assess yourself for obvious injuries before you step out of the car.

 

Determine if you’re injured badly enough to need medical attention. If you do, call 911 as soon as possible. It’s critical that you assess yourself for signs or symptoms of a concussion, one of the most common car accident injuries. You may be concussed if you’re experiencing a headache, dizziness, grogginess or confusion, a dazed feeling, nausea, or vomiting. 

 

If you feel OK to move, you can exit your vehicle to check on the other driver and call the police.

2. Document Everything

Once you’re in a safe place, call the police and an officer will come out to take an accident report. While you wait for the police, gather as much information as you can about the accident. 

 

  • First, you’ll need to collect information from the other driver: name, contact information, passenger names, insurance carrier, policy number, car make/model, and license plate tag.

 

  • Next, take photos or videos of the accident scene and car damage. If you or the other driver have visible injuries, take photos of those as well.

 

  • Lastly, write down or voice record everything you remember about what happened. Include the date, time and location of the accident, road conditions, weather conditions, the direction each car was traveling, and your remembrance of what happened.   

 

You’ll want an official accident report and additional documentation to deal with one or more of the following as you manage the aftermath of the accident: your insurance provider, an attorney, and a medical provider. 

3. File an Insurance Claim

Call your insurance provider to file an insurance claim as soon as possible after a car accident. It’s absolutely crucial to file a claim if:

 

  • Someone has been injured
  • Fault is unclear
  • There is significant car/property damage
  • The other driver is uninsured

 

Even if you don’t feel injured after an auto accident, it’s safer to report the accident to your insurance provider and initiate a claim. Failing to file a claim timely could result in your insurance company denying an auto accident claim or a personal injury claim at a later date. 

4. Seek Medical Treatment

Some accident injuries take hours, days, or even weeks to appear. After a car accident, monitor yourself closely for the following signs and symptoms:

 

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weakness
  • Numbness or tingling 

 

If you have any pain or unusual feelings, seek a medical evaluation from a trusted provider. Don’t assume that pain will resolve itself over a few days — even minor pain or discomfort could be a sign of a serious injury. Failing to receive medical care and treatment after a crash can cause an acute injury to worsen and lead to long-term pain and complications. 

 

Choose a medical provider with experience diagnosing and treating car accident injuries like fractures, concussions, whiplash, herniated discs, pinched nerves, spine damage, and soft tissue damage. Additionally, choose a medical provider with experience handling personal injury claims. If you choose to pursue a personal injury claim, you’ll need accurate, detailed documentation of your entire medical experience. Physician records are an important component when an insurance company is evaluating your personal injury case. 

5. Call a Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve suffered an injury from a car crash, calling a personal injury attorney might be in your best interests. For-profit insurance companies are looking out for their own best interests while settling personal injury claims — they want to settle for the lowest amount they possibly can. But an experienced attorney will be looking out for your well-being while advocating for you — they want to ensure you receive fair compensation to cover your medical bills and treatment. A lawyer will also be able to argue for compensation for lost wages and emotional distress if applicable. 

 

Representing yourself during settlement negotiations is stressful, overwhelming and time-consuming. A lawyer can handle the paperwork and legal procedures, assess a fair compensation for your injuries, collect evidence and documentation, and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf. All you have to do is focus on healing and recovering from the accident.

BEST Surgery and Therapies Treats Car Accident Injuries

At BEST, we have expertise treating car accident and personal injury cases. Our state-of-the-art facility provides minimally invasive orthopedic, spine, and urgent injury care and treatment. Our services include pain management, general orthopedic care, conservative therapies, one-on-one physical therapy, and minimally invasive spine and orthopedic surgeries. 

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 at 513-480-8434 to speak with a dedicated Patient Experience Coordinator and schedule your first appointment.

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