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Getting Your Bearings: What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

In the seconds following a car accident, you may feel confused, trying to make sense of what just happened. Before anxiety and fear take over, you need to take a deep breath and get your bearings. The next steps to take are crucial to your wellbeing and any accident claim you need to file.

By taking certain steps immediately following a motor vehicle accident, you can stay safe and also aid your insurance claim and any personal injury lawsuit you may need to pursue with the help of an experienced car accident attorney.

Whether you’ve recently been in an accident and want to know how you should respond or wish to brush up on steps to take while spending long hours on the road, this guide can help you.

Acknowledge to Yourself That An Accident Has Occurred

Initially, you will be stunned or in shock following a car accident. Stay calm and acknowledge to yourself that an accident has occurred. Pause and take a few deep breaths to steady yourself.

Check for Injuries

Stay calm and avoid exiting the crashed car. Calmly assess yourself for any injuries and also notice where you are in the vehicle. Are your legs trapped under a bent steering wheel? Can you feel your feet? Assess each area of your body, from the top of your head to your toes.

Moving suddenly could worsen some car accident injuries, so be kind to yourself as you move about. If you are able, check on passengers in your car to see if they are injured. Remember to move slowly and avoid any movement that causes pain or discomfort.

Get Your Bearings

Glance out the front, side, and back windows if you can to get your bearings. Notice where you are in relation to other cars, signs, trees, or buildings. Does it appear safe, or are you in the middle of an intersection with cars still driving past? Knowing your surroundings can help to determine whether to stay put or exit to a safer area if able.

Call Authorities to Report the Accident

Call the police or 911 to report the accident to authorities. Tell the dispatcher where you are and the level of injuries, if known. A police report of the accident scene can help your personal injury attorneys when filing your injury claim. A police officer can also direct traffic around the accident or block off the road for vehicle accident investigators to do their work.

Your health and that of others in the vehicles is the priority, and authorities will respond with medical personnel to assist all accident victims, documenting any assistance provided in an accident report.

Collect Information

Don’t rely only on the police to file a report. Without admitting fault or any other details of the crash, ask the other driver (or drivers) for their contact information and the name of their insurance company, and policy number.

Look around and see if there are any witnesses to the accident and ask for their contact information as well.

getting your bearings

Take Photos of the Crash Scene

If you aren’t severely injured and it is safe to do so, walk around the accident scene and take photos. Take various shots of the roadway, including any skid marks or debris. Also, take pictures of the vehicles, showing the damage. These photos can serve as significant evidence for your accident or personal injury claim.

Seek Medical Care

Even if you feel fine after the accident, seek medical attention and follow any treatment plans prescribed. Often, injuries following an accident may not show up until days or weeks later. Anything from whiplash to a traumatic brain injury like a concussion can occur. Your health is the top priority here, so do whatever you can to get medical care immediately.

Medical records will be essential for proving any injury case you may need to file with an insurance company or in a lawsuit if the other driver was negligent.

Contact an Accident Attorney

Before attempting to file a claim with the car insurance company, consider contacting an accident attorney to review your situation and obtain legal advice. You may be able to pursue higher compensation and benefits due to the accident and resulting injuries.

An experienced personal injury attorney will know what to look for, what questions to ask, and the steps to take to represent your case confidently, including negotiating settlement offers and getting the compensation you deserve.

Michigan is a no-fault state, and you can contact your own insurance company to receive benefits for medical expenses and even lost wages. If the accident occurred because of another’s negligence, however, such as a hit and run, you have another option to file a personal injury lawsuit and get fair compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, and lost wages. A knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer can help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

Contact Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Michigan

If you, a loved one, or friend has been in a car accident recently, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our team will give your case a thorough review, negotiate with insurance companies, and file a personal injury lawsuit on your behalf if required. Call our law firm at 866-MICH-LAW for a free no-obligation consultation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Emily is a writer and legal professional with experience as a law firm paralegal and non-profit legal administrator. Prior to her legal career, Emily earned her Bachelor's Degree in International Affairs and worked with a government consulting group out of Washington, D.C. Today she splits her time between the Florida coast and the North Carolina mountains.



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