Ask the Experts

After the Accident

I was recently involved in a pretty serious car accident. This just happened recently, so I’m still figuring out what to do now. I was unhurt, but my sister--who was a passenger--thinks she has a concussion. My car seems to be totalled, but we’re waiting to hear for sure from the mechanic. The accident wasn’t my fault, so I don’t think I’ll be sued, or anything, but I’m still a little nervous. And, obviously, now I don’t have car, so I can’t really get around when I want to go off campus!

Experts, do you have any tips on what to do after a big car accident?


A car accident is a stressful and upsetting thing. It’s physically dangerous, of course, but it also comes with a host of other issues trailing along, from the financial strain of a ruined car and the frustrations of dealing with an insurance company to the personal trauma of having experienced something so frightening and stressful.

You’ve already been through the initial moments following a car accident, but it’s important to note what to do right after a collision. If possible, you should move the car off to the side of the road--leaving it in traffic could mean risking further collisions. Your first priority is checking for injuries. Call an ambulance for anyone who needs one. Don’t try to move an injured person unless he or she is facing immediate danger, like a risk of explosion. Once you’ve made sure everyone is alright or called an ambulance for anyone who is not, call the police. This is legally required for accidents that are severe enough (laws vary), but it is the safest thing to do in all cases, large and small.

Once the police report is set and immediate injuries are being cared for, your next step is to deal with your insurance company. It’s unfortunate that yours is being unhelpful, because a good insurance company can make the rest of this process quite a bit easier. For instance, they can help provide you with a rental car while yours is in the shop for repairs. You should call your insurance company and ask about this. In the meantime, of course, you can count on car services and taxi services, say the managers at Absolute Taxi in Oneonta, New York--most taxi companies will let you schedule rides in advance and will charge flat rates for longer trips, so call around and see what makes sense for things like work and school commutes.

If your insurance company is dragging their heels, you may need to talk to a lawyer. A lawyer may also be your best bet if you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault. That’s according to Avrek, where attorneys specialize in expert legal advice for motorcycle accidents, car accidents, and more. Your sister’s medical issue could be serious, and you don’t have forever to reach out to a lawyer and start the legal ball rolling, so it may be a good idea to get a consultation now (they’re often free) and learn more about your options.

“Simply, I need to have someone’s comforting gaze, a lifeline to hold onto.” -- Peter A. Levine, In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

Lissette Harwood is a Former Content Director at District Confidential.