The aftermath of a car accident can be hectic. Your adrenaline and emotions are high; you likely feel agitated and upset. Clear and rational thoughts can be hard to come by as you process what happened to cause your crash.
However, the choices you make after an Ohio car accident can affect your legal rights and ability to pursue compensation through a lawsuit later. Learning and rehearsing now what to do after a wreck can help you remain calm and take the proper steps if you are ever involved in a crash.
8 Questions to Ask After a Crash Occurs
Ohio saw 265,512 traffic crashes in 2022. While car accidents are common, no two crashes are alike — how you respond after an injury accident may not be the right way to address a minor fender-bender. Nonetheless, your Columbus car accident lawyer recommends that you run through the following eight questions after a crash:
1. Am I Hurt?
Your health and the health of your passengers should be a top concern after an accident. Begin by taking a moment and determining if you have any injuries. Look for obvious signs of injury like bleeding, broken bones, and pain sensations.
If you believe you have been hurt in some way, mentally rate how seriously you think you are hurt on a scale from one to ten. One would refer to a minor scrape or bump, while ten would equate to blinding pain, paralysis, or considerable bleeding.
2. Do I Need to Call an Ambulance?
If you or anyone involved in the accident has more than minor injuries, you should call 911 or your local dispatch and request an ambulance to come to your location. Calling for an ambulance is an especially good idea if:
- Someone is unconscious or lost consciousness in the crash
- There is bleeding that you cannot control with direct pressure and basic first aid
- Anyone involved is complaining of back or neck pain or says they cannot move
- You are not sure how badly you are hurt
Emergency medical technicians can evaluate you on the scene and take you to the hospital if needed. You should consider allowing the ambulance to take you to the emergency room if your injuries are above a four on the one-to-ten scale described above.
3. Am I in a Safe Location?
Next, you should decide whether to remain where you are or move yourself and your vehicle to a safer location. To answer this question, consider your injuries and the accident scene.
If your injuries are a six or above on the scale or it’s too painful to move, you should stay put until help arrives. In this situation, do not move unless you are in immediate danger from other traffic or a hazard like leaking fuel.
Otherwise, if it is a minor fender-bender on a busy road, it may be best to move yourself and your vehicle, if possible, to the side of the road. Before doing so, consider whether you can first preserve some evidence through photographs.
4. Do I Need to Call the Police?
In Ohio, you must notify local law enforcement of a crash that causes an injury to any person or the death of any individual. The police must also be notified of any accident that appears to cause more than $1,000 in property damage. Failing to do so can lead to criminal charges.
Your Ohio car accident lawyer recommends that you call the police and ask them to respond to your accident even if you are not sure you need to. The dispatcher may ask you a few questions to help the police decide whether they truly need to be there.
5. Do I Need a Tow Truck?
Do not forget that you will need to move your car away from the scene of the crash. You should call for a tow truck if your car is totaled, leaking fluid, or otherwise inoperable but the police are not coming. Otherwise, if the police are coming to investigate your crash, they will call a towing service as part of their efforts to clear the accident scene.
Cars left at accident scenes can be towed and impounded. If this happens, it can be difficult and costly for you to retrieve your vehicle later.
6. Can I Document Evidence?
If you are still at the scene of the crash, you are likely waiting for an ambulance to arrive or you have decided you do not need to be transported to the hospital immediately. If you can do so and you have a smartphone, attempt to document the crash scene with photographs.
Taking pictures of the vehicles, your injuries, and where the crash occurred can help your car accident attorney as they investigate your case. Photographs can also help your car accident lawyer tell the story of your crash and injuries.
7. Is Someone Trying to Talk to Me?
Numerous people may want to talk with you after your accident, and each has their individual reasons for doing so. A police officer may want to speak with you to figure out how the accident happened, for instance. An insurance adjuster may want to get a statement from you so they can decide whether to approve your claim.
Aside from providing basic factual information about your identity and your insurance information, try not to discuss the facts of the case without first talking with a car accident lawyer. Staying quiet can keep you from saying things that might affect your ability to seek compensation later. Do not admit fault or claim responsibility for causing the crash.
8. Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Retaining a car accident lawyer’s assistance any time you are injured, a loved one is killed, or your car is severely damaged is a crucial step in your recovery. An attorney can file insurance claims and lawsuits on your behalf and pursue compensation for you from negligent drivers.
Having an attorney’s assistance frees you to focus on your health and well-being. You can also have peace of mind knowing that forms are being completed correctly and submitted on time.
Lastly, your attorney can attempt to negotiate a fair and appropriate settlement of your case so you do not have to wonder whether the offer you are receiving is the best resolution to your case.
Schiff & Associates Is Your Choice for an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Columbus
You may not remember all of the questions to ask following a car accident. However, keep in mind that an experienced Ohio car accident lawyer is available and easy to obtain. Contact Schiff & Associates following your car accident, and allow us to use our experience and skills to help you in your legal recovery.