what to do after a car accident

It is hard to know what to do after a car accident. Victims often feel shock and fear about what has happened and can be overwhelmed by their injuries, the damage to their car, and questions about insurance. Being in a car accident is a terrifying experience for anyone, but here are five simple tips to remember if it happens to you.

1. Make Sure You Are Safe

After an accident, moving yourself to safety and responding to your injuries should always be your first priority. Call 911, or specifically ask someone else to call 911, if you or anyone else might have been hurt. 

2. Call the Police and Cooperate with Investigators 

Make sure that police officers are notified of the accident, whether through a call to 911 or a direct call to the local station. Police officers will look for evidence when they arrive but won’t know your side of the story unless you share it. If you observed the other driver doing something unsafe before the accident, you should let the officer know. Investigating officers will gather information and create a police report, which can often be a crucial part of the insurance claim process and any subsequent lawsuit. 

Try to think and remember clearly if you are being asked questions about how the accident happened; if you are not sure, it is best to wait to provide an answer until you can think clearly. Emotions tend to run high after a vehicle accident and people often feel like a crash was their fault even if it wasn’t. An admission of fault to a police officer, insurance agent, or another driver could be tough to overcome if you actually were NOT at fault, and later decide to pursue a motor vehicle accident claim.

3. Document the Accident Scene and Your Injuries

If you are able to, gather information from the other driver or drivers involved in the accident, such as vehicle registration and insurance information. Police and insurance agents often take photographs of vehicles involved in accidents but you should not rely on them. If possible, and only if it is safe to do so, take photos of all vehicles involved as well as the surrounding accident scene. You should also try to get the names and contact information of any witnesses. This information can be crucial if your attorney will need to reconstruct an accident scene for a jury, and to prove that the other driver was the one at fault. If your injuries are visible, have a loved one or friend take photos of them as soon as possible after the accident and as you recover. When it comes to receiving compensation, the more evidence you collect, the better your chances will be. 

4. Seek Medical Attention Immediately

If you are injured, getting better should be your number one priority. If emergency response personnel recommend that you take an ambulance or go directly to the ER, listen to their advice. Even if you think your injuries are minor, consult with a doctor as soon as possible after any serious vehicle accident. 

Continue to keep an eye on your health following your accident: some symptoms of injuries, such as headaches, dizziness or pain, do not appear for hours or even days following a crash. Keep a journal of your symptoms and discuss them and any other concerns with your doctor. If you wait to see a doctor, it can be harder to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident.

5. Call an Attorney 

With so many people asking you questions about the accident, and possibly asking you to sign documents that you don’t understand, you need an ally in your corner. Make sure your rights are protected by calling an attorney. 

At Garmey Law, our experienced accident lawyers will walk you through the process step-by-step. Through a free consultation, we will help evaluate your claim and will work with you to determine the course of action that makes the most sense for you. We will set you up for success as you start your claim, helping ensure that you recover the compensation you deserve. 

Even if you have started the insurance claims process on your own, it is never too late to begin working with an experienced Maine car accident lawyer at Garmey Law. Please contact us to schedule your free consultation today!

 “We deal with the insurance company and medical records and bills out of your hands so you can focus on healing and getting better. The team is going to be in your life for sometimes many years; here, everyone is caring, considerate, and available. That’s important to evaluate when making your decision. Here you’re going to be in good hands with the entire team, they will answer your questions. -Julie P

Frequently Asked Questions

When we meet with you about your car accident claim, we understand that you are going through a difficult time. During your initial meeting, we will discuss the facts regarding your car accident and your injuries. We work on a contingent fee basis, which means that we will not charge you for an initial consultation and you will not pay us anything along the way unless and until we recover for you. We will work with you to understand your situation and determine the proper next steps. Finally, we will create a sensible plan to move forward toward and achieve your best result.

Every case, like every client, is unique. Your case will likely take several months to several years, depending on the nature of your injuries and how well you heal. This can be difficult for anyone to handle, but it is especially hard for someone coping with the pain and disruption of a serious injury. When you work with our Maine car accident lawyers, we are dedicated to making this process easier for you. We will work with you to try to expedite the process whenever we can. If your case cannot be settled, we will discuss your options going forward, such as filing a lawsuit in a Maine court.