With so many cars on the road, it’s no wonder that accidents happen all the time. In fact, there are about 6 million car accidents in the United States every year. Nearly everyone has either been involved in a car accident or has had a close friend or relative that has been impacted by one. It is difficult to avoid them even when you drive very carefully and obey all the traffic laws. When you have a collision, it is therefore important to make sure you know what to do. This needs to be understood ahead of time. This way, you will have a plan in place that you can follow, which will reduce the sense of panic that often sets in immediately following an accident. Here are some of the first things you should do after being involved in a collision.
Don’t Panic and Check for Injuries
The panicky feeling you get after getting into a collision in your car is partly mental and partly physical as well. While we associate the feeling of panic with what’s going through our minds, there are some things happening in our bodies that can result in this sensation—or at least make it feel more drastic than you think it should. You’re your body is involved in some sort of physical trauma or frightening event, it can enter what is known as the fight or flight stage. When this happens, adrenaline is pumped through your body, your heart beat increases, as does your breathing, you may sweat, and there can be a spike in energy. If all this happens while you are sitting still in a car, all of the sensations and energy being created are essentially bottled up in the cabin of your car. The space is going to feel small, restrictive, and you’re going to want to move. It’s important to recognize that some of these feelings are as a result of the fight or flight syndrome. Take a moment to calm down, acknowledge the situation, and gather your thoughts.
After taking a few breaths, it’s time to check for injuries. You may feel something right away or nothing at all. Move slowly and check yourself first. This holds true even if you have a young one in the vehicle with you. Making sure you are OK before moving to help anyone else is going to make you a better support for that person. If you do have injuries, you may not be in a good position to help in the way you want. Honestly evaluate your body and the limitations. Then examine any young ones or others in the car with you. Often, a very young person will have injuries that aren’t obvious. These can include concussions and internal injuries. If you absolutely must move a young child, do so very carefully.
Resist the Temptation to Call the Wrong People
There will be plenty of time to tell your family about the accident. You will also have ample opportunity to contact a personal injury attorney. If it seems like the other person was engaging in reckless driving, you may want to call the police right away, but this could also be a mistake. After a collision, before you call anyone, make sure you don’t need to call 911 for an ambulance. After an accident, minutes can make a huge difference in the amount of time it takes someone to recover—or even survive. So call the ambulance right away if you think there is even the remotest possibility of a significant injury.
Call an Attorney
Many people who have filed a car accident claim will tell you how valuable it is to call an attorney immediately after they know they are safe. Car accident lawyers can give you cool, calm advice following a collision that can help put your mind at ease. Further, they’ve been down this road several times so they know the right things to do. When you call, it’s OK to ask any- and everything. If the other person was drunk driving, you can ask about how that affects the situation, or it distracted driving was involved, you can inquire about that. Your attorney will make sure you’re safe, first and foremost, and then help ease any questions you have regarding possible legal action.