What To Do After A Car Accident

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for people in the United States. In 2016 alone, over 37,000 people died as a result of an auto accident.

Given the high frequency of car accidents and the likelihood that you will be involved in one at some point during your life, it’s in your best interest to understand the main causes of car accidents as well as what to do after a crash.

We discuss all this and more in our blog.

Common Causes Of Car Accidents

Car accidents have many different causes, but a common thread among them is human error. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that human error leads to approximately 94% of car accidents in the U.S.

Some of the most common examples of human errors that result in accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving too fast
  • Driving too slow
  • Not allowing enough braking distance between vehicles
  • Changing lanes without signaling
  • Swerving in between lanes

Distracted driving, in particular, is a dangerous phenomenon that has become more prevalent with the rise of smartphones, infotainment systems in cars, and other mobile electronic accessories.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving—whether that be visual attention, manual attention, or cognitive attention. While distracted driving often involves smartphones, it can also involve eating, drinking, applying makeup, and more.

Distracted driving claimed 3,166 lives in 2017 alone. All of these deaths could have been prevented had the driver been paying close attention to the road.

Top Injuries Caused By Car Accidents

When someone makes the choice to drive recklessly or negligently, they put everyone else on the road at risk of injury or death. Some of the most common injuries caused by car accidents include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Injuries requiring amputation
  • Burns, scarring, and disfigurement

In addition to amounting in thousands of dollars in medical bills and lost wages, injuries such as these may leave the injured victim with life-long psychological and emotional trauma. Indeed, the course of a victim’s entire life may change in the moments leading up to the crash.

If you or someone you love has received such an injury in a car accident, hope is not lost. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may be able to recover compensation from the at-fault driver and their insurance company to pay for your medical treatment and cost of living.

The steps you take immediately following a car accident will greatly affect your chances of recovering said compensation.

Steps To Take After A Car Accident

While we may believe that something as traumatic as a car accident will never happen to us, the statistics prove otherwise. This is why it’s in your best interest to know the proper steps to take after a car accident before you head out on the road again.

If you become involved in a car accident, take the following steps to the best of your ability in order to increase your chances of recovering the compensation you deserve:

  • Check on all parties involved and contact emergency services if needed. The most important thing to do immediately following a crash is to make sure no one has any serious injuries. If someone does, call 911 right away.
  • Do not apologize to the other driver. It may seem like a natural instinct to apologize immediately following an accident. However, doing so will jeopardize your chances of recovering the compensation to which you’re entitled. Even a simple apology may later be used against you to demonstrate fault.
  • Contact the authorities. Once the authorities arrive at the accident scene, make sure they understand what happened. Give them your recollection of the accident as it happened from beginning to end. The responding officer’s police report will serve as vital evidence in the future to prove you were not at fault.
  • Take photos at the scene. Make sure to capture any and all physical damage and injuries you sustained at the scene.
  • Collect the other driver’s contact information. This should include their driver’s license information, insurance information, vehicle information, and contact information.
  • Collect any witnesses’ contact information. An eyewitness is a valuable resource to prove your innocence. Make sure to collect the contact information from any witnesses at the accident scene.
  • Contact an experienced personal injury attorney. After a car accident, it’s never a good idea to try to go through the legal process on your own. A qualified personal injury attorney will be knowledgeable in your state’s unique car accident laws and will be able to help you recover the maximum possible compensation.

Injured In A Car Accident? We’re Here to Help

If you or someone you love has been harmed in a car accident, our Southaven car accident attorneys are here to help. At Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman, we’re well-versed in all matters of motor vehicle accident cases, and we know how to protect your rights.

We’re known as The Lawyers That Listen because, to us, you’re not just another case number. We treat each and every client as the unique individual they are, and we work with you to find a solution that best fits your needs.

Contact our team today to schedule a free initial consultation.

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.