Being involved in an accident is terrifying. Not only is it scary, but there are so many practical things that need to be dealt with afterward. It’s easy to feel like your head is spinning and you’re unsure of what to do next. The following will explore the critical things you should do following an accident. 

Seek Medical Attention

First and foremost, anyone who needs immediate medical attention should be given that. Beyond obvious injuries, you should visit a doctor even if you feel fine. Often the damages done in an accident are not visible—if you were moving at high speed and then stop suddenly, your organs can be pressed against your bones resulting in bruising or internal bleeding that isn’t visible from the outside. Moreover, there are medical conditions like shock as well as bursts of adrenaline (which is common in accidents) that can prevent people from feeling an injury in full. If none of the above reasons convince you to seek out medical attention, consider this: having a medical record post-accident can sometimes be helpful in legal proceedings. If you, later on, find out that you are injured but didn’t go to the hospital, it’s possible a lawyer or insurance company will interpret this as you not being as injured as you claim to be.

Avoid Social Media

It’s all too common nowadays to have an emotionally-packed experience and then turn immediately to social media to vent or share. After an accident, you should completely avoid this in all forms. This means no liking, commenting, sharing, posting, or otherwise engaging. Anything you do online can be accessed by law enforcement, lawyers, or insurance companies and used against you in a legal proceeding. Even something like commenting on a friend’s picture of their dinner could be understood as you not being as disrupted by the accident as you claim to be.

Exchange Information And Collect Evidence Pleasantly

After an accident, you need to exchange information with the other party involved. Though you are likely upset, it’s a good idea to make this exchange as pleasant as you can. Again, anything you say or do can later be used against you. Save your anger for a trusted friend later on. Once information is exchanged, do your best to collect any relevant evidence. This could involve taking pictures of the scene (including both close-ups of individual objects and damages and wide shots showing the whole layout of the scene). Yes, law enforcement is supposed to collect evidence, but there’s always the change they won’t notice something that you will or that they’re exhausted and so missing something critical or that they’re more focused on ensuring the injured are tended to, and traffic is redirected in a safe manner.

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Contact A Lawyer

Before you speak to your insurance company or anyone else, speak to an attorney. Look for someone who specializes in the particular incident that has occurred and someone who practices in the state where the accident occurred. If, for example, the collision happened in Indiana with a dump truck, you’re looking for a dump truck accident lawyer in Indiana. The law varies drastically between states, and each individual focus requires years of practice to master.

Keep An Eye On Your Mental Health

Car accidents are the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in America. If you find yourself struggling with overwhelming emotions (even if those emotions don’t seem to align with how you’d expect you’d feel after an accident), pay attention to them. It’s common to struggle with your identity after an accident if it influences your ability to work, make money, or provide for your family, as many people closely identify with their work. It’s also common to feel ecstatically manic and feel the urge to make unstable decisions that you normally would not. Feelings of depression and anxiety, as well as intrusive thoughts, can occur. You might find it difficult to get back in a car or drive along the same road where the accident happened. You might find your sleep is disrupted by forceful dreams. If any mental health symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day life post-accident, speak to someone. Keep your partner or close friends in the loop with how you’re feeling. Speak to a mental health professional if you need to.

The above steps should help you after an accident has occurred. Of course, every accident is different, so if your attorney is advising you to do something different than the above, it is a good idea to listen to them. They will have a firmer grasp of your specific context and situation.

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