09 Mar 5 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident
You just crashed your car.
Your mind is racing, your heart pounding. Am I injured? Are other people in my car or the other car injured? How badly is my car damaged?
Are we in danger of being hit by oncoming traffic? Should I get out? Where’s my phone?
What am I supposed to do next after a car accident?
Thinking through some basic steps ahead of time can help prepare you for this moment when you’re panicking and feeling unsure about the safest course of action.
Above all, remember to focus on your breath and do your best to remain calm. (You may want to screenshot these steps to have them available on your phone, or print out this post to keep in your glove box.)
Step 1: Pull over and call 911.
Stop your car. Pull out of the line of traffic, if it’s possible to do so. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights. Unless it was a super slo-mo fender bender and you’re absolutely sure no one was injured, it’s a good idea to call 911. The federal government’s website, 911.gov, recommends calling after “a car crash, especially if someone is injured” so, if you have any doubt, make the call. If you are injured, stay put until you can be evaluated by a medical professional.
Step 2: Exchange car insurance information.
Even if the collision was minor and there are no obvious signs of injury or damage, you still need to ask the other driver for their complete car insurance information. Some problems are not immediately apparent, and don’t emerge until hours or days later. This applies to both your body and your car! You need to have that info just in case.
Step 3: Get the business card of the officer who responds to your accident.
You’ll need the number listed on their business card in order to request the police report, which is vital for your insurance claim. If you don’t get the card, call the local police station and let them know the officer’s name and the date and time of your accident to request the report.
Step 4: Take photos and gather witnesses.
It’s extremely helpful to get pictures of the accident scene from all directions. It may not be obvious which photos will be most helpful later on, so take as many pictures as possible. Capture close-up shots and some from further away–and get all possible angles. If you think that someone’s witness account of the accident scene will be relevant, be sure to capture pictures from that person’s perspective.
For example, if the other driver told you after the accident that he/she couldn’t see you coming, you would want to take pictures that showed how far back the other driver had a view of the accident scene. And be sure to get names and contact info of anyone around who witnessed the accident.
Step 5: Contact an experienced auto injury health professional.
Once you’re safely home and have filed your insurance claim, make an appointment with an upper cervical chiropractor. Even the most minor car accidents can lead to soft tissue injuries and upper cervical misalignments. Left untreated, injuries from car accidents can lead to chronic arthritis and predispose you to further pain and health complications.
More than half of all whiplash injuries occur in crashes where there was little to no damage to the vehicle!
It’s best to err on the side of caution and get an evaluation–and especially if you’re already experiencing pain.
Because of the whiplash effect that happens in nearly every accident, we recommend a comprehensive spinal evaluation following a car accident. Unique, detailed X-rays can help determine subtle misalignments in the upper cervical spine that often go unnoticed until they cause problems down the road.
If you’re in the Asheville area, call Atlas Chiropractic (828) 253-0700!
We can also help you with the insurance process.
We work with a number of insurance companies to provide chiropractic care including Geico Insurance, Progressive Insurance, Statefarm Insurance, USAA Insurance, and Essurance, and others. The insurance process for auto accidents can be confusing, which is why our staff is trained to explain your benefits and options. We assist you with getting the proper tests and even work with your primary doctor to make sure we’re all on the same page for your care.
Dr. Nygaard has had tremendous success with patients who have sustained car accident injuries.
We hope you don’t find yourself in this situation–but, if you do, we can help.
Contact us today to learn about Atlas Chiropractic of Asheville and the many conditions we treat. 828-253-0700