In 2016, nearly 4.6 million people needed medical treatment after a vehicle crash — that’s an increase of 7% over 2015*. Every auto owner should know what to do after an auto accident. Preparing yourself to react confidently could make a huge medical difference to you, the people in your car, and those involved in a collision.
That’s why we have created this checklist for you to follow in the event of a car accident. Read it now, and commit it to memory. Even keep a copy in your glove compartment.
Preparation is Key
Always keep the following items in your car in case of an auto accident. So they are easy to find, keep them in a small box or even a simple sandwich bag.
- Insurance cards and copies
- In case of emergency numbers
- Battery backup (charged) for your phone
In your trunk, keep the following items for comfort in the case of shock and minor first aid needs:
- Road trip first-aid kid
At the Scene of an Auto Accident
The first thing to remember is to stay calm and to remind yourself to breathe deeply. Accidents can happen to anyone, and there are professionals ready to help.
- STOP and call 9/11 — the operator will ask you if anyone needs medical attention in addition to having the police come out to the scene
- Make sure everyone is safe — ensure no further accidents or injuries can occur if you can. If you have traffic cones or crash safety items in your vehicle, put them out so that other road users are aware of your accident.
- Assess your medical situation — aches, pains, cuts, bruises. You might not realize at first that you have an injury so take the time to evaluate how you and others feel.
- Exchange insurance, phone and driver license information — everyone should have a copy of their insurance on their person or in their car. Make sure you get phone numbers from those involved in the collision for insurance purposes.
- Take photos of your and any other involved vehicles. Make sure you capture images of license plates and car types, in addition to pictures of driver licenses and insurance cards — having these records in photo-form will help you avoid errors and forgetting to obtain important details when in shock from the accident.
- Get a medical evaluation as soon as possible — it’s not always evident immediately after an accident that you have an injury. Get yourself checked out by your doctor or the ER straight away. Even minor collisions can cause damage to your spinal cord, shoulder or neck. If you experience any symptoms of whiplash or other injuries within days of the accident, seek a second evaluation — the sooner, the better for best healing outcomes.
- Call your insurance company — as soon as you can.
- Keep a file — make sure you have a record of what happened (write it down for yourself), and keep all your photos and records on file for follow-up; also keep any medical records and invoices with your accident file.
If you have any injuries following an auto accident, Florida Physical Medicine is here to help you heal and get back to your life. We provide same- and next-day appointments to help you get the care you need right away. Get in touch with Florida Physical Medicine for the best physical outcomes after an auto accident.