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What should I do after a car accident?

The 10-10-10 Rule

The attorneys at Van Law Firm recommend the 10-10-10 rule for how to act after a car crash. One should do certain things within the first ten minutes, ten hours, and ten days of a crash. Right after a crash, your emotions may be high, but Van Law Firm can help if you just remember the easy advice of “10-10-10”.

10 Minutes: These are the steps you should take immediately after a crash occurs as they will set you up for the best chance of recovery.

Check on yourself: The first thing you should do is make sure you are okay. If you are very hurt, especially if you have injuries to the back or neck, you should not move as it can make your injuries worse. Instead, wait for emergency services to arrive.

Check on your passengers: If you are not seriously injured and you have passengers, then you should check on them next. If a passenger is very hurt, especially to the neck or back, do not move them and wait for emergency services.

Get to Safety: If neither the driver nor the passengers are injured to the point that they cannot move, then it is advisable to get to safety. The side of the road can be a dangerous place. We always recommend stepping off the road onto a sidewalk or behind something while you call emergency services.

Call 911: After a crash, you should always call 911. The emergency services will be a major help. The police will be able to come document the scene and make a police report. The documentation and report are key parts to any post-crash lawsuit. The ambulance will be able to double check for any injury.

Document the crash: Lastly, you should document the crash. This can come in the form of taking pictures of the scene, exchanging information, or writing down what you see, like the time of day and amount of traffic on the road.

10 Hours: These are important steps that should be taken within the first day of the crash, but do not need to happen at the scene of the crash.

Call your insurance and file a claim: While this can be done right at the scene of the crash, you can wait until after things have calmed down slightly to call the insurance company to file a claim. The insurance company will be able to give good advice as to where your car should be brought if it is undrivable, as well as other important things. The insurance company may also direct you to a lawyer. As stated below, it is always recommended that you retain a separate, personal lawyer in addition to any provided by the insurance company.

Create a journal of injuries: An important step to any potential lawsuit following a crash is to prove that you suffered injury. As such, creating a journal in which you can write down new and worsening pain will be extremely important. This will help establish that it is the accident itself that caused the injury and not some other incident.

Gather paperwork: It is important to gather paperwork after the crash. This includes any pictures and information gathered at the scene of the crash, police reports, copies of your and the other driver’s insurance, vehicle registrations, and anything else you think is important.

Call a lawyer: While your insurance is required to provide a lawyer to you after an accident, you should always remember that it is the insurance company’s lawyer, not yours. Because the lawyer is working for the insurance company, sometimes he may not have your best interest in mind. We always recommend that you get your own lawyer.

10 Days: These are important steps to take after the day of the crash and should be continued while still in pain or while any lawsuits are still happening. While the title of this section is 10 days, these steps should be taken from day 2 to day 100 and beyond.

Keep your journal of injuries up to date: It is important to keep your journal of injuries up-to-date. We want to know if the pain is getting worse, staying the same, or improving. This will be extremely helpful to your lawyer in fighting for you against the other drivers.

Keep in contact with your lawyer and insurance: Over the next few days, it will be important to keep in contact with both your insurance and your lawyer as they may request certain things from you to better assist your recovery.

Continue to gather paperwork: Not all paperwork will be immediately available following a crash. As such, it is important to continue to gather all information post-crash.

What not to do after a car accident?

Admit Fault: The worst thing you can do is admit you were wrong, both to the police and the other driver. It is easier to admit fault than you may think. All the following could be problematic sayings:

  • “It was my fault”
  • “I am liable”
  • “I’m sorry, I did not see you coming”
  • “My kid was distracting me in the backseat”

Some of the statements are obvious that you are admitting fault for the crash, but others are more subtle. As such, any discussion between parties should be limited to exchanging information and documenting the incident.

Get Help from a Car Crash Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck and need an attorney, choose the experienced attorneys at Van Law Firm to guide you through your case. Our experienced attorneys are here to assist you every step of the way. A car crash can be a very stressful event, but if you remember the 10-10-10 rule and remember to call the Van Law Firm for a free consultation at (725) 900-9000, we can help ease your stress and get you the compensation you deserve.