A Checklist for Car Accident Survivors

The Risk of Driving

In the case of a car accident, it only takes a few seconds for everything to change. It has been estimated that the average person will be involved in four accidents throughout their life. Despite this staggering statistic, many people do not realize how prevalent accidents actually are. With this being said, anytime you step into a car, there is a risk attached. 

Immediately after an accident, it is normal to feel confused and helpless. Many car accident survivors even experience temporary, severe mental trauma leading to anxiety or the development of phobias. Regardless of the outcome, any form of a car accident can be mentally and physically scarring. However, it is important to know that there are steps you can take to mediate the situation. Since accidents are so common, it is important to have a plan in the case one occurs. 

At this point, you should have contacted the authorities and exchanged information with the other driver involved in the accident. Allow this checklist to guide you through the processes that should be followed following a car or motor vehicle accident. 

A Checklist for Car Accident Survivors

1. Check in with Yourself

As you are likely reading this a few hours after your crash occurred, it is time to consider seeking injury help. Many car accident survivors will leave the scene only experiencing subtle neck pain, but others might leave with far more serious injuries. Regardless, if you have been involved in any serious accident, you should seek help. This can help with prevention and ensuring you do not have any head-related injuries which can worsen with time. 

Many people do not know that a large percentage of car accident survivors require surgery of some kind. Most commonly, this is for orthopedic issues but spine procedures are very common in the case of serious collisions. While spine conditions typically worsen gradually, trauma-invoked spine conditions are different and require a special approach. Many times, with these kinds of procedures, there is less time to consider options and surgeons. In this case, it is important to find a specialist who puts patients at the forefront. 

At BEST Health System, our board-certified orthopaedic and spine surgeons specialize in finding the least invasive path for patients. While traditional procedures require a large incision, BEST utilizes modern medical technology to avoid this and shorten the recovery period. 

2. Contact Your Insurance

After ensuring that you are not seriously injured, it is time to consider the logistics. Although you don’t have to contact your insurance directly from the scene, it is important to not wait too long. If the accident is not reported within a certain period of time, there is a chance your insurance will not cover it. Additionally, there is a chance that your insurance policy includes more benefits than you know of, and by contacting your insurance earlier, you will be able to utilize them. 

Prior to speaking with your insurance agency, make sure to have all the facts present in front of you. This can include pictures of the accident, license plates, insurance documents, and the police report, if applicable. 

Some drivers choose to not report accidents as it may affect their insurance rates. However, this is never wise since it could end up leading to a hefty price tag at the end. The most important thing you can do is be honest about any pain you may be feeling, the severity of the accident, and any other relevant details. Your insurance agent will want to know all details relating to the accident, including any witness reports. 

3. Connect with a Car Accident Attorney

In some cases, it may be necessary to connect with a car accident attorney. After a car accident, you will want to focus on your recovery and mental well-being. A car accident attorney takes the stress off of you and will work to get the financial compensation you deserve. They can also help you navigate the legal side of your case. If negotiations do not conclude the case, your car accident attorney will go on to represent you in court. During court cases, more evidence is always beneficial because it allows you to defend your claim. Prior to the accident, here are examples of evidence you should accumulate if accessible:

  • Photos of both cars involved in the accidents
  • Accident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Video evidence
  • Medical records

4. Follow Up with Medical Appointments

After seeking immediate medical attention, you should continue to pay attention to any pain that  may come about. Upon impact of a car accident, your body protects itself by releasing adrenaline. This may prevent you from feeling pain or soreness until after the accident. Many car accident survivors wake up the morning after and report feeling a stiffness in the upper spine and neck. If you experience any pain or discomfort days or weeks after your collision, it is very important to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. 

Your primary care physician may want to schedule a follow-up appointment after your initial appointment so ensure that your pain is not worsening. It is very important to go to these so your doctor can monitor your recovery and confirm progress. 

If there are no signs of improvement after a couple visits, your doctor may suggest you consider conservative treatment options. This includes physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine, and hold/cold therapy. After months conservative therapy, most patients will notice a significant difference. However, if conservative methods have been exhausted without results, you may be a candidate for surgery. 

Surgery with BEST

BEST Health System welcomes all patients regardless of the cause of their pain. BEST’s surgeons specialize in a minimally invasive approach to surgery. This allows for patients to return home the same day and experience a much faster recovery. After a car accident, patients experience a set-back, and surgery should never worsen this. 
Say goodbye to traditional procedures and hello to the future with BEST. If you have back or neck pain or know someone who does as a result of a car accident, contact our team today.