A car accident can be frightening and lead to devastating injuries. Physical and emotional injuries, medical bills and lost wages are only some of the immediate concerns.

Here is a list of the five most important things to do immediately after an accident:

1. Health.

It is important that you quickly identify if you or any of your passengers were injured in the accident. However, injuries may not always be obvious or immediately apparent. It has been reported through numerous studies that adrenaline can often mask immediate injuries at the scene of an accident. While it may seem obvious to call 9-1-1 if there are critical or debilitating injuries, you should identify any physical abnormality and report it.

2. Safety.

Accidents often take place in areas of high motor vehicle congestion, traffic or dangerous roadways which have blind spots, excessive speed limits or unusual intersections and stops. While you should not move your motor vehicle until the police get to the accident scene, be certain you are not placing yourself in danger by staying in your vehicle or standing directly outside your vehicle. You can wait for the police and emergency medical personnel from a safe location.

3. Police.

It is important to call law enforcement immediately after the accident. In fact, law enforcement in Ohio investigated over 53,000 car accidents last year. Many law enforcement officers are trained in accident reconstruction and will create an accurate police report which will likely be used to help prove your claim. It is typical that the at-fault party will dispute the facts of the accident and its insurance company will try to deny the claim. In fact, Esurance advises its insured to deny fault even if they caused the accident. Law enforcement will interview the parties involved in the accident, locate potential witnesses, help determine how the accident occurred and assign fault to the other party. Even if it is obvious which party caused the accident, it is always best to contact the police to make a report.

4. Locate Witnesses.

While law enforcement will typically try to take statements of witnesses that hang around the accident scene, you should try to get the name and telephone numbers of potential witnesses before they leave the scene or before law enforcement gets to the scene. These witnesses may be crucial to determine who caused the accident. There are many auto insurers that recommend their insured get witness statements, too.

5. Medical Treatment.

If you feel any physical abnormality, pain or discomfort, you should seek medical treatment at the scene of the accident. As mentioned above, adrenaline after the accident may mask initial injuries, but you should always err on the side of caution when it comes to your health. Proper and timely documentation of your injuries is important to presenting a claim to the insurance company. Delays in treatment, failure to properly disclose all of your injuries and failure to follow medical advice will negatively impact payment of your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Documentation of injuries is crucial to any successful personal injury claim.

The motor vehicle accident lawyers and car accident lawyers at Cowan & Hilgeman have handled hundreds of auto accident claims and will walk you through the entire claim process – guaranteeing that your rights are protected and benefits maximized. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients and will fight for the compensation you deserve. If we do not recover compensation on your behalf, you do not pay an attorney fee.

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