What Happens After a Car Accident?

by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: March 8, 2021

The aftermath of a car accident is chaotic. However, it’s important to remain calm and focused. Your immediate priority will be to get everyone to safety in the event the car is in the path of oncoming traffic. After that, you can assess the injuries and call 911.

Calling for emergency responders

Provide the most important information first so that the dispatcher can get to work on sending out help to your location.

Inform the dispatcher that there has been an accident, let them know whether an ambulance is required, and provide your exact location. It’s helpful if you can let the dispatcher know the nearest cross street as well as the street you’re on.

The next steps you take will influence your legal rights and options for recovering compensation for your losses. Many people delay contacting a personal injury attorney, thinking that they can manage the claim themselves.

However, it’s usually best to call a law firm right away. Our attorneys at Chaffin Luhana, for example, can guide what you should and shouldn’t say to the insurance adjuster.

Talking to the other driver

Unless you’ve been in a one-car accident, there will be another driver involved at the scene. The most important thing to remember is to not apologize to the other driver.

It’s human nature to apologize when something bad happens, even if you know it wasn’t your fault. However, you must resist the temptation because the other driver may try to use your apology as proof that you were indeed responsible for the crash.

Next, exchange information with the other driver. This includes full names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, car make and model, and license plate numbers. You should also get the names and contact information for all passengers.

Talking to witnesses

If there are any witnesses nearby (people who were not involved in the accident, but saw it happen), you should ask for their full names and contact information. If they have time, you can also ask if they’re willing to write a brief statement about what they saw happen. Your personal injury attorney may contact these witnesses later.

Filing the police report

  • When the police arrive, you should answer all their questions honestly.
  • Be sure to point out anything that the other driver did wrong, such as not using a turn signal or running a red light.
  • Make sure that information gets recorded in the police report and ask how you can obtain a copy of it.
  • In addition, write down the names and badge numbers of all responding officers.

Documenting the scene

  • Accident documentation can help your lawyer substantiate your claim.
  • It includes photos of the crash site and the damage to the vehicles.
  • You might also want to take photos of your injuries, if applicable.
  • Be sure to take pictures of any skid marks, traffic lights, and street signs in the immediate area.

Reporting the accident

After you’ve taken care of the police report and received medical attention, you’ll need to report the accident to your insurance carrier. They may have an app for that.

Before the insurance adjuster gives you a call, it’s a good idea to speak with a car accident attorney. They will let you know what you should and shouldn’t say to the adjuster.

Contact our attorneys after a car accident

When you need exceptional legal representation after a car accident, you can call our Pittsburgh car accident attorneys at Chaffin Luhana. We represent clients across the nation. Our attorneys have recovered over $1 billion on behalf of our clients.

The initial consultation is free of charge, and we never charge a legal fee unless we recover compensation for our clients. Give us a call today to request your initial case review and find out whether you may have the basis for a legal complaint. Our core value is Doing Good by Doing Right.