An auto accident is a shock to the system - both physically and emotionally. After a serious car crash, you or your loved one may not know what to do first. Do you call the police first, or your insurance provider? When do you bring a in lawyer? As a Myrtle Beach auto accident attorney practicing for over 20 years, I know that many of my clients might have been in a better position if they'd had a step-by-step guide for what to do after a car crash.
Before you do anything else, make sure you put safety first. If your car is still mobile, move off to the shoulder or into a nearby parking lot or side street. Get clear of the main roadway. This keeps the road clear and prevents traffic backups and secondary accidents as motorists try to react to an unexpected obstruction.
Even if your vehicle can't move, you can. Get away from any traffic and move to a safe space - like a sidewalk, median, or nearby shelter. Make sure not to go too far, though. Stay on the scene so emergency responders and police can find you easily. If bad weather makes it unsafe to stay on site, make sure you tell the 9-1-1 dispatcher where you will be waiting.
As soon as you are safe, contact the police and get them to the scene. The police will help direct traffic away from your vehicles and document what happened. The 9-1-1 dispatcher can also bring in any other emergency responders that may be necessary like an ambulance or tow trucks. Make sure you let the dispatcher know if anyone is hurt and if the vehicles are mobile.
Once the police are on the way, make sure you exchange contact information with the other driver. Make sure you get the other driver's name, address, and insurance information. If you are the victim of a hit-and-run, write down everything you can remember about the vehicle - make, model, and license plate.
Often, after a serious auto accident, nearby motorists or pedestrians will stop to help. These are witnesses to what happened who may help you prove what happened later on. Ask witnesses for their names and contact numbers, as well as what they saw. They will likely be asked to make a statement to police as well. But sometimes, it will be easier for your auto accident attorney to contact witnesses directly.
Strange things can happen to your memory after an accident. Shock, confusion, and sometimes injuries or medications, can affect the way you remember what happened. Don't rely on your memory months or years down the road when it is time to file a lawsuit. Instead, pull out your smartphone and take pictures of everything: each car, the surroundings, and any visible injuries.
No matter how serious the auto accident, you should always see a doctor afterward to make sure you are healthy. If you are seriously injured in the auto accident, this item gets pushed up in priority. EMS workers will help you decide you need whether to take an ambulance to the hospital right away. Even if your injuries don't warrant an ambulance ride, you should still see your primary physician to check for whiplash, concussion, or other injuries that don't show up on the surface.
Once all your immediate health and safety needs are met, it is time to talk to an experienced auto accident attorney. Your attorney can help with filling an insurance claim, considering any settlement offers, and pursuing a negligence lawsuit against the at-fault driver to collect the damages you need to heal. If you have been injured in the Myrtle Beach area, I would be happy to speak with you about your injuries, concerns, and rights to recovery.Contact my office for a free consultation.