Latest News 2017 January Remember the Steps to Take After a Car Accident: Use the CRASH Method

Remember the Steps to Take After a Car Accident: Use the CRASH Method

It's not uncommon for car accident victims to be incredibly dazed right after the crash. Car collisions are loud, violent, and traumatic events. There's a type of shell-shock that's common for people who've just been in a car crash—absentmindedness, anxiety, and difficulty remembering small things are normal symptoms. Some people even become nauseous from the adrenaline.

Because the last thing on an accident victim's mind is filing an accurate insurance claim, we've created a foolproof way to ensure that you have everything you need to protect yourself legally while on the scene of a car accident.

It's called the CRASH Method, and we've outlined it below.

  • Call the Police
  • Record the Damage
  • Ask for Info
  • See a Doctor (or More)
  • Hold Your Tongue

#1: Call the Police

Listen, even if you feel it was your fault, you need to call the police.

When the facts aren't clear, everyone becomes wary of calling the police. For one thing, as long as you're not drunk, you won't be getting arrested. There's nothing to fear as far as consequences. More importantly, a police report is mandatory if your car crash causes an excess of $1000 in property damage—including the vehicles involved.

Here's a more important reason, though:

The police report of the incident will include the facts—the time of day, the names of everyone in the crash (and their driver's license numbers), the names of the police officers, and the exact sequence of events according to you and the other driver(s) involved. Having an objective and official record of the events that day will be vital if you seek benefits from your insurance or pursue an injury claim.

Don't get caught up in the fear of potential consequences: call the police. You'll thank yourself later.

#2: Record the Damage

As soon as you call the police, check on the other driver. If neither of you need emergency medical attention, take photos of each of the cars. Follow a simple clockwork procedure to make sure you have a thorough record of your car.

Starting from the front of the car (12 o'clock position), take pictures at:

  • 12
  • 1:30
  • 3
  • 4:30
  • 6
  • 7:30
  • 9
  • 10:30

Do this for every vehicle involved in the accident. With a two-car crash, you should have 16 photos total, giving you a full turnaround of the damage. Even if there's no damage on a side, record it. The more accurate your records, the faster your insurance company will be able to settle your claim. If there's a dispute with your insurance company, you'll also have your own record on hand to build your case.

#3: Ask for Information

This one is fairly simple—ask the other driver(s) for driver's licenses numbers and insurance information. If they aren't cooperative, it's not the end of the world—just make sure you record their license plate number. When the police arrive, they will be required to offer up insurance information and their ID.

Try to get a picture of the license plate in your photos from step 2—that way you'll combine two steps in one and there's no chance you'll have a typo writing down the car's info.

#4: See a Doctor

For all you people who have a high pain tolerance or pride yourself on being resilient—stop. Go to a doctor because you have no idea what kind of shape you're in, even if you feel fine. For one thing, after a car crash your adrenaline will be pumping like crazy. That tends to muffle your pain sensitivity and keep you from feeling the bruising or damage that might have occurred.

For another thing, soft tissue damage sometimes doesn't appear for up to a day later. You may not feel your crash until you wake up the next morning. Head to a nearby urgent care and get your back, neck, and joints checked out by a professional.

This serves two purposes:

  • It takes care of your health—this is priority number one.
  • It creates a record of your health—this is priority number two.

Having a doctor's record, even a fairly mild one, will allow you to more accurately prove what injuries the crash caused. If there's no record, your testimony of your pain may not be enough. Even worse, any non-physical symptoms (i.e. PTSD) will go on untreated.

One more thing:

If your doctor refers you to a therapist or a specialist, go to them as soon as possible. Putting off a referral could lead to long-term injuries, and no insurance benefit can undo those.

#5: Hold Back Speculation

Final step: call your insurance company as soon as you've seen a doctor. When discussing your case with your insurance company (or a police officer), do not comment on who might have been at fault. Report the facts only. No speculation, no "I thinks" or "I thought I saws" at all. Only provide what you saw or heard before, during, and after the crash.

For one thing, speculation is often inaccurate. If we didn't see it, we cannot possibly know it happened the way we think—no matter how "logical" the conclusion may be. It's the insurance company's job to investigate, not yours. Secondly, you might inadvertently incriminate yourself as the at-fault party while trying to pin it on someone else. Repeat what you saw—nothing more, nothing less.

There you have it: an easy and powerful set of steps for any car accident victim to follow. As long as you follow these steps, even in a dazed state of mind, you'll save yourself hours of waiting and legwork after the fact—and will put yourself in an ideal position to demand rightful benefits from an insurance provider for the damages you've suffered.

If you're unsure of how to proceed after your car accident, call a local car accident attorney for a free consultation on your case. They'll be able to tell you if you have valid grounds for an injury lawsuit.

Categories: Car Accident