What to Do After a Car Accident

May 7, 2024 | Garrett Dennis
What to Do After a Car Accident
What to Do After a Car Accident

After a car accident, you're probably feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and unsure of what to do next. A collision can leave you shaken up and confused.

Once you leave the scene of the accident, you likely have many questions swirling through your mind:

  • What are the most important things I need to take care of?
  • How do I get my car fixed?
  • What if I suffered an injury - how will I pay my medical bills?
  • Should I call my insurance company? What information will they need?
  • Do I need to hire a car accident lawyer?

Don't worry - while the post-accident process can seem overwhelming, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know and do step-by-step.

By taking the proper actions following your accident, you can protect your legal rights, get the compensation you deserve, and move forward with getting your life back to normal.

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Step 1: Get Medical Care

Your health needs to be a high priority after a crash. Even if you do not believe you were seriously hurt, get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.

Some car accident injuries, like concussions, may not show symptoms right away. A doctor will quickly diagnose and treat any injuries.

Step 2: Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company

Calling Insurance After Accident

After you've taken care of your immediate medical needs, your next call should be to your auto insurance company. Nearly all insurance policies require you to promptly report any accidents, usually within 24 to 72 hours.

Even if the accident wasn't your fault, or if you don't plan to file a claim with your own insurer, you still need to let them know the accident occurred.

When you call, have the following information ready:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • A basic description of what happened
  • The name, contact, and insurance info for the other driver
  • The police report number, if available

Your insurance agent will open a claim, assign a claim number, and walk you through the next steps in their process. They may send an adjuster to inspect the damage to your vehicle.

Be honest when communicating with your insurance company, but stick to the basic facts of what occurred.

Don't admit fault, downplay your injuries, or speculate about what happened. Simply describe the incident to the best of your knowledge. It's okay to say you don't know or don't remember.

The best move is to hire a car accident lawyer quickly so they can handle this conversation.

Step 3: Do Not Accept Any Settlement Offers

After a car accident, you may want to resolve the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible. Accepting a settlement offer from the at-fault driver or their insurance company is tempting, especially if it seems fair. However, never accept any amount before seeking legal advice.

Accepting a settlement offer without consulting an attorney can have serious consequences. The at-fault driver's insurance company may minimize their liability and offer you a much lower settlement than you deserve.

Without legal representation, you may not know the full extent of your rights and the compensation you are entitled to, and you might accept a lowball settlement.

If you accept less than you deserve, you may lose your right to seek more once you realize the mistake. It does not matter that your losses far exceed the settlement you accepted without legal representation, as you cannot undo a settlement agreement outside exceptional circumstances.

Never settle a case with insurers or drivers without legal representation, as doing so risks your future.

Step 5: Consult an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Consulting an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

Many accident victims wonder if they need to hire a lawyer to help with their case. Even if your crash seems minor and the fault appears to be straightforward, you can face many obstacles during the claim process. Getting the compensation you need can be much more challenging than most people imagine.

Consulting an experienced car accident attorney can hugely benefit your case.

An attorney can help if:

  • You suffered injuries that required medical treatment
  • There's a dispute about who was at fault for the crash
  • The other driver was uninsured or underinsured
  • Your injuries have resulted in missed work and lost income
  • The insurance company has denied your claim or made a lowball settlement offer
  • You're not confident handling communications and negotiations with the insurer on your own

Most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations, so getting a professional legal perspective on your case costs nothing. The attorney will review your accident, go over your options, and give their assessment of your case.

If you decide to hire them, most work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if they win money for you.

Your lawyer will handle all communications with the insurance companies and the negotiation process. They may advise filing a lawsuit if they cannot obtain a fair settlement offer from insurers.

Your attorney will guide you through every step of the litigation, from filing the initial complaint to representing you at trial, if needed.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

If you suffered an injury in a crash due to someone else's negligence, a skilled car accident lawyer can advocate for and advise you during this challenging time.

A lawyer can handle communications with the insurance company, protect your rights, and fight to get you the maximum compensation possible.

Don't hesitate to reach out for a free consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on the best path forward. With a dedicated legal advisor in your corner, you can focus on your recovery while they handle the rest. You deserve justice; the right lawyer will help you obtain it.

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Garrett Dennis


For nearly a decade I have been representing the people of North Alabama who have been victims to accidents. I have seen firsthand the impact a wreck can have on a victim and their families.

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