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Comprehensive Car Accident Guide 2024

A car accident can leave you stunned and confused – but what you do next can be critical to your future. This guide can help you understand what steps to take immediately following the wreck.

Harris & Hart Attorneys at Law is one of the most well-known and successful law firms in the Kansas City area. While we always aim to negotiate a fair settlement for our car accident clients, we are experienced litigators who take a strategic approach to every claim. With that in mind, everybody needs to know more about what to do after a crash.

What To Do At The Scene Of A Car Accident

Even a “fender-bender” can be a major event if you suffer hidden injuries, so treat every car accident the same. Here are the basic steps to take:

  1. Call the authorities: Immediately check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Call 911 immediately and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Get a copy of the police report when it is ready.
  2. Get medical care: Seek medical care for any injuries. Even if you feel fine, you should have an examination by a health care professional, as some injuries, like whiplash or internal bleeding, can have delayed symptoms.
  3. Get to safety: Turn on your hazard lights, if you are able, to warn other drivers that your vehicle is disabled. If nobody seems seriously injured and you can do so, move your vehicle to safety while you wait for the authorities.
  4. Swap information: Once the police arrive, make your report and let the officer facilitate the exchange of information with the other driver. Make sure that you get the other party’s name, contact information and insurance information.
  5. Keep the details private: Do not discuss the fault or the facts of the wreck with the other driver. Anything you say may be twisted around later to deflect blame onto you. Avoid posting about the accident on social media, as the opposing side or insurance company’s lawyers could use this against you.
  6. Document the scene: If you are able, take photos of the accident scene, the surrounding road, the damage to the vehicles involved and your injuries. If you have a dashcam, save the footage. Photographic evidence can provide a clear record of the damage and may be used to establish the severity of the incident. Include different angles and lighting conditions to ensure clarity.
  7. Consult a lawyer: After a major car accident, you will need representation from a personal injury lawyer. They will guide you through the claims process, communicate with the insurer, gather documentation and help you seek compensation.
  8. Notify your insurance: Contact your insurance company to report the accident. However, you should have an attorney before you make any statements. This ensures you avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be used against you.
  9. Begin vehicle repairs: You have the right to select the shop that will repair your car. Research local repair shops, read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family. Ensure the shop you select is certified and has experience with your vehicle make and model. Getting multiple estimates can also be helpful for insurance purposes.

Finally, you should notify your insurance company of the accident. If you are uncertain how to communicate the accident, reach out to us for a risk-free consultation so we can discuss this important step in detail. Any mistakes here could reduce your compensation or otherwise hinder your case.

Watch For Injury Symptoms After A Car Crash

After a car accident, survivors may suffer a range of injuries, from minor cuts and bruises to more severe conditions. Some common car accident injuries and their symptoms include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): The symptoms of TBI can include headaches, dizziness, memory issues, fatigue and even personality changes.
  • Spinal cord damage: Watch for back pain, weakness, numbness or tingling and trouble with balance.
  • Neck injuries: Neck injuries may involve pain or stiffness, tenderness in the neck and shoulders, radiating pain and inability to move your neck.
  • Broken bones: If you feel intense localized pain, a visibly misshapen or out-of-place limb, numbness and lose the ability to move your limb or joint, you may have a fracture.
  • Soft tissue damage: Some signs may include inflammation, swelling, redness or discoloration and pain.

You should remain vigilant for the symptoms of late-developing injuries, even if you felt okay initially after the crash. Symptoms can appear hours, days or even weeks later.

What Else Can I Do To Help My Case?

There are a few major steps you can take to increase your likelihood of recovering the compensation you need after a car accident. Get a copy of the police report and any medical records that will be useful for your insurance claim. Follow up with your primary care physician or a specialist promptly, as recommended. Remember to keep a record of all medical visits, treatments and diagnoses, which can be vital for any insurance or legal claims. Keep a log of all conversations with your insurance company, including dates, times and the names of the representatives you speak with.

Contact Us To Learn More

When you have been seriously hurt in a wreck or your loved one is injured, you need skilled, responsive legal representation that can help you get your life back on track. Contact our Overland Park office at 913-800-6132 or fill out our online form to get started on your car accident claim. Or learn more about our car accident lawyers.