Do You Know What to Do If Injured In a Car Accident?

Knowing what to do if injured in a car accident may help you avoid further injury, and protect your rights. The Iowa Department of Transportation reported 47,891 motor vehicle collisions occurred across the state in 2020. Many of these crashes resulted in serious and fatal injuries.
After getting into a wreck, especially if injured, likely the last thing on your mind is how you will recover compensation for the damages you've just suffered. Knowing what to do if you are injured in a car accident before one happens may help you remain clear-headed during a difficult situation. A personal injury lawyer may help you determine the best course of action to pursue a fair settlement. 

Know What to Do If Injured in a Car Accident

1. Stop

If you see or are involved in an automobile collision, or see an accident or injury, stop. Leaving the scene of an accident, even a minor one, without first stopping to see whether there are damages or injuries is required in most states. Leaving the scene of an automobile accident may be criminally prosecuted. Even if you are not involved, you may be a key witness to the incident.

2. Check for Injuries

You should not move an injured person unless there is imminent danger. If you are injured, do not move. Have someone call 911, if necessary. If you are unable to call, ensure someone else makes the call to 911, as they will ensure the police and proper emergency personnel respond to the scene.

3. Warn Other Drivers

Warning other drivers is essential to preventing additional accidents after a crash. If possible, turning on hazard lights, raising the hood or trunk of the vehicle, or setting out flares helps to notify oncoming traffic to proceed with caution.

4. Exchange Information

If you are a witness, provide your name and phone number to the police. They will provide it to proper insurance companies. You may or may not provide information to the drivers in the accident. If you are in the accident, you and the other driver need to exchange names, addresses, phone numbers, driver's license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance carriers, policy numbers, and your insurance agent's name and telephone numbers.

5. Gather Other Witness Information

Obtain identifying information from any witnesses to the accident, and ask them to provide the same information to the police. Having others who may speak on your behalf will sometimes aid with how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident.

6. Take Notes

Write down as much as you remember about the accident-where and how it occurred, what the road and weather conditions were, the speed limits, if there was a stop sign or stop/caution light, what the lighting conditions were (time of day, were streetlights on, etc.), and what the automobiles were doing when the accident happened. You may be required to share these notes with the other party if you enter into litigation.

7. Never Take the Blame

Regardless of who is at fault, do not say anything regarding blame. There may be other factors you are unaware of that may have caused the accident. An admission of guilt may be used against you later on. Not knowing what to do if injured in a car accident, even something as simple as an apology, may later get used as evidence that you bear some fault for the collision.

8. Cooperate with the Police

Stay at the accident scene until the police tell you that you can leave. Tell the police only the facts of what happened, and do not assume anything or read any information into the facts. Again, do not acknowledge any responsibility to anyone, including people in your vehicle, the other vehicle, witnesses or police. It is not always simple to determine the legal matter of responsibility or liability. Do provide the police of any injuries and witnesses. The police officer that takes the report should provide you with a business card and the “incident number,” so that you can obtain an accident report. If he doesn't offer it, ask for it.

9. Call Your Insurance Agent

It is important to notify your insurance agent right away, whether you are at fault or not. Your insurance agent may ask you to provide the notes you have taken, information from the other driver, and police report information. Do not give recorded statements to any insurance company or meet with any insurance agents without consulting your personal Injury lawyer first.

10. Photograph the Accident Scene

Take pictures of the accident scene (even one or two days afterwards, preferably about the same time as the accident-if the accident was at night, also take pictures of the scene during the day). Also, take pictures of your injuries and the damages to your car.

11. Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Before filling out any insurance documents, giving recorded statements to any insurance company, or meeting with any insurance company representative, call us. Consultation is extremely important before giving a statement to the other driver's insurance company. Do not sign any check or document from any insurance company without first consulting an experienced Personal Injury attorney. NOTE: ALWAYS be honest with your insurance company. Not doing so may cause your policy to be invalidated.

12. Consult a Physician ASAP

It is possible that you may not know the full extent of your injuries at the time of the accident. Various injuries may not be evident until some time later. If you do not see a doctor, it is possible to risk aggravating your injury by delaying your treatment. Even trifling soreness may be an indicator of a more significant injury. If there is any chance you may have been injured, it is safer to see a physician as soon as possible to rule out any unseen injuries.
Insurance companies have argued that individuals that fail to see a physician right away have injuries that must have resulted from an event or events that happened after the accident. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to connect unseen injuries to the accident.
Things to look out for and to report are many. They include, but are not limited to things like dizziness, memory loss, confusion, disorientation, nausea, headaches, blood (in any natural bodily opening) or even ringing in your ears. Part of what doctor to see after a car accident will depend on factors such as the type and severity of your symptoms.

13. Review the Information

Another important step in knowing what to do if injured in a car accident is to review the notes you have taken at the accident. You should do this within a few days. Check to ensure that all important information is included.

14. Document the Accident and Aftermath

Document every item that has to do with the accident. This means recording or documenting every conversation, every phone call that you have with your Personal Injury attorney, your doctor and any insurance company in relation to your accident including the date, time, and name of the person or people that you spoke to as well as their job titles and their supervisor's names. Keep track of all medical bills and transportation costs, estimated future medical treatment, wages lost due to the accident, and wages that may be lost in the future due to the accident. Doing so may aid with receiving compensation for the economic damages resulting from your crash, as well as for non-economic damages such as psychological trauma after a car accident compensation.

Do You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

Knowing what to do if injured in a car accident includes deciding if you need the assistance of an attorney. A personal Injury lawyer will review with you the effect the accident had on your life and your family. Additionally, a motor vehicle collisions attorney will help you identify any other possible losses that may be associated with your incident to help you receive fair compensation.
Do you know what to do if you are injured in a car accident? If you would like to schedule an initial consultation contact an Iowa motor vehicle collision attorney, representing clients in Keokuk, Iowa at the Pothitakis Law Firm, P.C. Give us a call or complete our inquiry form.
Photo of Niko Pothitakis
For the past 15 years Mr. Pothitakis has focused his practice on Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Cases. The firm has two locations, one being in Burlington, Iowa and the other in Keokuk, Iowa. Mr. Pothitakis works with many area unions and employee organizations to provide advice, assistance, and guidance as it relates to employment issues. Mr. Pothitakis provides free consultations to those with legal questions in the firm's areas of practice. In this initial meeting or conference potential clients are provided advice on their need for assistance and how they need to proceed.