You were driving along, following the traffic laws. Suddenly, someone drove through a red light or stop sign or turned right into your vehicle. No matter how safely you drive, you can't control the negligence and poor decisions of other drivers.
In the immediate aftermath of a serious car accident, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. You should, of course, call for emergency responders, including medical professionals and law enforcement, as soon as possible after an accident. You will also need to determine if the vehicles should be moved or left in place.
Depending on the amount of traffic, the level of visibility and the damage to the cars, you may need to exit the vehicles to reduce the risk of a secondary collision. You should do everything in your power to keep yourself and anyone else in the vehicle safe until first responders arrive. That could include administering first aid if someone has sustained injuries and is bleeding or unconscious.
Once law enforcement has arrived, you should take a few minutes to document the scene and the moments leading up to the accident with your cellphone. It may end up helping you later.
Certain things are important after an accident
Don't ever apologize, the courts may consider that an admission of fault. Even if the other party clearly caused the accident, apologizing could limit your ability to recover your losses after an accident. Take pictures or video with your cellphone to show the position of the vehicles involved and to share anything you believe contributed to the accident.
Was the other driver on the phone? Do you believe the driver was affected by drugs or alcohol? Make sure to share suspicions with law enforcement, which can help ensure that there is an adequate investigation as to the cause of the crash.
Once you have spoken with first responders, you may need to leave to seek medical treatment. The worse the injuries, the more important it is that you seek medical help as soon as possible. If you have children present in the car, be sure to speak with them about the experience. Your children could experience emotional trauma and develop a fear of cars or post-traumatic stress as a result of a serious car accident.
How an attorney helps after an accident
Make sure to have an attorney can review any settlements to determine if the amount is fair, given the damages and injuries sustained. Your attorney can negotiate with insurers to help ensure timely payment of your medical bills. It's far too common for medical and vehicular insurance companies to both refuse to pay until they determine the liable party. Your attorney can also help you file a civil lawsuit, if necessary, to recover your financial losses. You shouldn't face this kind of accident alone.