The immediate aftermath of a car accident that occurs in Charleston, West Virginia, can be confusing. However, there are steps that individuals can take to help ensure that they have the best chance of recovering compensation for their injuries and property damage expenses. Here, we want to give some basic steps that you or your loved ones can follow in the event you are involved in a vehicle accident on Charleston roadways.
Steps to Take Right After a Crash
Even though the immediate aftermath of a vehicle accident will be chaotic, there are steps you can take right then in there to help improve your chances of recovering compensation. Obviously, you will not be reading this article while you are on the roadside. We hope that you are reading this before an accident ever occurs. Truly, we hope you never need to take these steps in the first place. However, if you do get involved in a vehicle accident, you should:
- Get to safety. Right after a crash occurs, you need to quickly evaluate the situation and determine whether or not you are in any immediate danger. You generally should not move your vehicle unless you are in a very unsafe situation, such as the middle of a highway with traffic zooming by. If you need to, and if you can, get your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or in the median. If your vehicle is disabled, and if you can safely do so, you should get to safety on the side of the road, well away from traffic.
- Check for injuries. You need to check yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved for injuries. If there are injuries, you need to seek immediate medical care. As a general rule of thumb, crash victims should not be moved extensively. Any dramatic movement of a crash victim could worsen their injuries.
- Call 911. You need to call 911 and let the dispatcher know where the crash occurred and whether or not you believe there are any injuries. Law enforcement officials, as well as fire and EMS personnel, need to come to the scene as soon as possible.
- Begin documenting the scene. If it is safe to do so, you should begin gathering as much evidence as possible. If you have a cell phone with a camera, use that to take photographs of everything at the scene. This includes vehicle damage, causes of the crash, injuries, debris, skid marks, traffic and weather conditions, and more. If there were any eyewitnesses, get their names and contact information. Additionally, you need to get the driver’s license number and insurance carrier information of the other driver(s) involved.
In the Days and Weeks After a Crash
The steps that you need to take after a vehicle accident do not stop after you have left the scene. The reality is that the next few days and weeks will be challenging. You need to report the incident to your insurance carrier, but you do not need to go into much detail with the carrier. You should contact a skilled Charleston car accident attorney if the crash was caused by the careless or negligent actions of another driver.
Importantly, you need to continue all medical treatment until after a doctor says you have reached maximum medical improvement. If you make a choice to discontinue care before your doctor says you have fully recovered, you risk the insurance carrier or the at-fault party trying to say that you are not really as injured as you said in the first place.