The Five Most Important Things to Do After a Motor Vehicle Accident

A Checklist for Protecting Your Health and Your Rights

In the immediate aftermath of an automobile accident, there can be great confusion and uncertainty as to what you should do. Here are the five most important steps to take when you’ve been hurt in a collision:

  • Step One — Seek treatment for your injuries—Your health and safety are your top priorities after a motor vehicle accident. Don’t try to be a hero and just shake it off. You’ll get the best care, and have the best chance for a full recovery, if you acknowledge that you’ve been hurt and let medical professionals determine the extent of your injuries. If you are unable to move on your own, or if you suffer injuries to your back or neck, stay put and wait for emergency medical technicians. Let them decide if you need to immediately go to the hospital (by ambulance, if necessary).

    If you can move, or if your injuries seem minor, you still should seek immediate medical attention, either at an urgent care facility or with a family practitioner. Ask the doctor to document everything in writing. Be certain to mention anything that’s out of the ordinary. Don’t focus on the obvious (a broken leg) but neglect to tell the doctor about the stiffness in your back or neck.

  • Step Two — Get information from the at-fault driver—You’ll need the name, address, phone number, e-mail address, or other contact information for any other motorists involved in the accident. You also should ask for the name of their auto insurance provider.
  • Step Three — Identify all potential witnesses and gather contact information from them—That includes anyone who was riding with you, passengers in other cars, and bystanders. Your attorney will need to contact them to get a statement or take a deposition.
  • Step Four — Get pictures of everything—Photograph vehicle damage, the injuries you sustained, weather conditions, skid marks, and roadway conditions. You don’t need a fancy camera—the camera on your phone will suffice.
  • Get Step Five — Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers Bailey & Galyen—The sooner you retain legal counsel, the less risk there is that evidence will be lost or witnesses will disappear.

If you are unable to move, ask someone else to gather all necessary contact information and take pictures.