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What to Do after an Auto Accident

Contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment for any and all injuries sustained in the accident. People should tell a doctor or any medical professional about any injuries that could have resulted from the accident. Some people have a tendency to try to tough it out and will only seek treatment when the pain becomes unbearable for them a couple of weeks later. When they start complaining about it, the doctor will ask, “Well, when did this happen?” The person will say that it happened shortly after the accident but if they didn’t report it to the doctor during any earlier visits, then it raises the possibility that it is unrelated to the accident. If someone had the opportunity to report their injuries but they didn’t, they’re not going to look kindly upon that. They’ll think that there must be some other reason for the pain or injuries if they don’t complain about them until a couple of months later.

What are five to 10 steps that you recommend someone should take?

  • Step one is, after the accident, to make sure that they don’t move their car.
  • Step two is to call law enforcement.
  • Step three is to take a picture with a phone or camera of the license plate of the other car in case that they leave the scene.
  • Step four is to call an ambulance if they are in pain.
  • Step five is to tell the person at the hospital about any and all pain, no matter how minor.
  • Step six is to be sure to do a follow up with the doctor and take any prescriptions, if they prescribe anything.
  • Step seven is to get the car inspected for any damage or repairs.
  • Step eight is to take pictures of any property damage to either of the cars involved.
  • Step nine is to contact the insurance company and advise them that there has been an accident and also tell them about any medical problems and any photos of damage to the car.

Should an individual contact law enforcement even if there are no injured parties or extensive damage?

I am a firm believer that people involved in an accident should always contact law enforcement because they are the only ones who can document how the accident happened. Also, there is a reason why the law gives someone three years to bring a claim for injuries. Some injuries aren’t apparent right away. A broken bone will happen instantly, but any kind of muscle strain, sprain, or pain could happen a couple of weeks later. While someone might have only minimal soreness at the time of the accident, after a couple of hours that could turn into something much worse. If they don’t call law enforcement to come document it and there was an injury but they let the person who hit them leave the scene without taking down any information, then they may not be able to find them again.

If someone is involved in an accident, it is always a safe bet to call law enforcement. If they don’t feel comfortable with that, then at the very least they should take down the other person’s license plate and driver’s license information, if they will provide it. If they don’t, then at least the person will have the license plate number and through that they have a better chance of finding the owner of the vehicle. By finding the owner, they can find the insurance company, and hopefully that will point them in the direction of the driver.

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