Millions of people are injured every year in auto accidents on American roadways, suffering from injuries ranging from mild to severe. Some accidents can cause long-term or lifelong disability in addition to a devastating financial burden.
Being involved in an accident can be a nerve-racking event, and many people aren’t sure what they need to do to protect themselves in the moments and days afterward. For example, they may fail to get the care they need to prevent complications, or they may not document their injuries so they can be fairly compensated.
David Berkower, DO, offers state-of-the-art care at Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, for patients who have suffered auto accidents injuries. In this blog, Dr. Berkower explains six important things you should do to minimize an accident’s impact on your health, finances, and life.
1. Check for injuries
Immediately after your accident, do a quick assessment to check for injuries. If you’re able, do the same for your passengers, too. This assessment can be helpful in ensuring emergency personnel provide appropriate care when they arrive on the scene.
2. Move to a safe area
If you don’t have any serious injuries, try to move to an area away from traffic. If your car is leaking fuel, it could pose a fire hazard. Plus, if your car is in a roadway, there’s always a chance it could be struck by another vehicle. Turn on your flashers, then move to an area off the road, but still in the general area.
3. Call 9-1-1
You may be tempted to “handle it yourself” if you have an accident without obvious injuries, or if the other driver wishes to keep things private or out of the hands of the authorities. This is never a good idea. Calling 9-1-1 provides an official record of the accident, which can be very important for future insurance claims or legal proceedings.
4. Record the event
Again, assuming you’re not injured, right after an accident is the best time to make some brief notes about what happened. Your memory about the event will be fresher, and you can also make notes about the lighting, the weather, the road surface, traffic obstructions, or any other factors that may have played a role in the accident.
In addition to notes, use your phone’s camera to take photos of the accident scene and the area around it, along with video from different angles. All of this information can play a critical role in any insurance claims you make or if you need to go to court.
5. Exchange info
As long as the other driver is not injured or angry, it’s also important to exchange information, including names, phone numbers, and insurance information. Take down the license number of the other vehicle as well. If the other party is injured or unapproachable, wait for police to arrive and ask the responding officer to assist in the information exchange.
6. Schedule an evaluation
Even if you don’t need medical treatment from 91-1- responders, you still need to schedule a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Dr. Berkower will ask you about any symptoms you may have as well as how the accident occurred, so he can determine which evaluations are needed.
It’s important to have a medical evaluation even if you don’t have symptoms and even if you believe the accident was “minor.” That’s because with many accidents, symptoms can show up much later, and having an evaluation right away can prevent problems from getting worse. Plus, having a medical record is essential for future insurance claims or legal proceedings.
Help for auto accident injuries
Even a “little fender-bender” can cause long-term medical problems that may not be immediately present. Having a prompt medical exam plays a critical role in ensuring you get the care and treatment you need now and in the future.
To learn how we can help you prevent serious complications after an auto accident, call 954-430-9972 or book an appointment online with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.