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3 Important Steps to Take After a Serious Car Accident

One minute, you're safely driving your car. The next, you're stunned and in pain after an accident caused by someone else's negligence. It only takes a second of glancing at a phone or forgetting to check before turning to cause serious injuries or even death.

If you've been in a serious car accident, there are certain thing you can do immediately after the crash to protect yourself and your family. Once the moment of the crash has passed, you may need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. After hearing the details of your case, an attorney can help you move forward.

1. Make sure everyone is okay and document what happened

Check everyone in your vehicle for serious injuries and call for medical care if needed. You may need to exit your vehicle, if possible, to reduce the risk of injury in any secondary crashes involving your stopped vehicle. You will also need to call law enforcement to report the crash. Provide details on the call, especially those involving how the other driver contributed to the accident. After that, you should take a moment to record or photograph the accident scene before the vehicles are moved. Take notes or record audio statements about what happened immediately before and after the accident.

Those notes, images and videos can help substantiate your story if you need to go to court. Creating a clear record of what happened can only help you if you sustained serious injuries.

2. Don't apologize, particularly if the other person is responsible

Law enforcement, witnesses or the courts may determine that your apology is an admission of guilt. Even if the accident was clearly caused by the other driver, a polite apology could cause you issues. While it can feel crass, don't apologize or make any statement that could imply you are responsible for the accident. You can express concern for the other driver, their vehicle and their passengers, as well as your own car and passengers. You may exchange insurance information while waiting for first responders.

3. Make sure responding law enforcement know what happened

The report issued by local law enforcement will be critical in insurance reviews and in court, if necessary. Take the time to ensure the officers at the scene of the accident know what happened and how the other driver contributed to the accident. Once you have spoken with them, you will probably need to leave to seek medical treatment for yourself and your passengers.

Speaking with an attorney once your injuries have been treated is important. An attorney can help negotiate a settlement with an insurer if needed. Your attorney can help you recover lost wages and the expenses involved in repairing or replacing your vehicle. The more serious the injuries you and your passengers sustained, the more important it is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

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