What to Expect During a Car Crash and Immediately After

What to expect during a car crash

No one wants to imagine getting into a car crash, but unfortunately, they do happen and it’s good to know what to expect in the unfortunate event it happens to you. Sinas Dramis Law Firm partner Stephen Sinas spoke with local police officer Steve Whelan during his In the Name of the Law segment, who has both personal experiences with car accidents and has investigated hundreds while on the job. In this blog, we’ll help readers get a better understanding of what to expect during a car crash, and what to do in the aftermath of the crash.

→ Watch Steve’s Discussion with Officer Whelan Here.

If you are in a high-impact crash, what kind of sensory experience are you going to endure?

A car crash can be an overwhelming experience. Whether you saw it coming or not, it can leave you in a state of shock and stress. Some other things to know regarding crashes  and the sensory experience include:

  1. Sound: The noise during a car crash can be overwhelming and loud. You might experience a ringing in your ears following the crash.
  2. Smell: If airbags go off in the car, sometimes you can smell like something is burning, and that adds another element of fear and reality. You might feel as though something is on fire, and while that’s possible, it could just be from the smell of the airbag deployment.
  3. Sight: You might also see smoke, also from the airbag deployment.

What is the first thing to do after a car crash?

Immediately after a crash, if possible, you want to assess the injuries in the car, you or your loved ones, and try to understand the status of where everyone’s at, and how everyone’s doing immediately post-crash. Then you want to call 9-1-1 and notify people as quickly as possible that you need help and there’s been a crash.

What will the 9-1-1 dispatch dispatcher ask when you call in?

One of the first things they’ll ask is about the injuries because that will dictate the priority of the police and fire response. They’ll then also ask for your location, and if you’re unsure, at least the general area, so they can get a crew on the way. Lastly, they’re going to want to know what other cars are involved and get a brief idea of the big picture of the crash. What happened so to speak, where is the car located regarding the road, etc.

When the police arrive at the scene of a car crash, what should people expect?

The first thing a police officer’s going to do is come in and block off traffic to protect the scene, to protect all the people in the cars. It’s encouraged for people who’re injured to stay in the car. If you’re injured, you might not really even know just how injured you are, and it’s best to stay in the car to keep you safe until help arrives. Especially in a severe accident. Next, they’ll want to assess your injuries. Then, they’re going to gather information on your driver’s license, your registration, and your proof of insurance. If there are witnesses, they’ll want to speak to them as well. Especially in a more serious accident, independent witnesses are important, so if you notice any, ask them to stick around and wait for the police.

Tow Trucks & Personal Belongings

If the vehicles are undrivable, it’s likely you will need to call a wrecker company to come and remove them from the scene of the crash. Depending on the area, if it’s a bigger roadway, the police officer might make the call for you after assessing the situation. They can assist you with this process regardless if your vehicle is undrivable.

When it comes to personal belonging in the car, and when you get them, it depends on how big of an accident is or the nature of the crash. The larger and more serious the crash, the property is not the priority. If the crash is minor, you’ll have time to be able to gather your things or arrange with the wrecker when you’ll get them.

Getting a Police Report

One thing to remember is that when there’s a crash and police are called, there will be a police report on the crash. The officer on scene will typically give this to you before anyone leaves, but it’s important to make sure you have one. The police report number will provide all documentation related to the crash. Including:

  • Which wrecker company has the cars
  • Information from the other driver
  • Your information
  • Statements from any and all witnesses.

In addition to the things mentioned above, you’ll need this for insurance. In serious injury situations, where you might also need an attorney, it will be good to have the report number to give to them as well.

What should people do to protect their legal rights following a crash?

You might wonder if you need to contact an attorney immediately following a crash. In general, Sinas Dramis recommends you don’t go it alone. Make sure your legal rights are protected, and that you’re educated on the complicated claims that can arise after a crash under Michian’s auto no-fault law. It doesn’t hurt to speak with an attorney and get a free consultation, to ensure those rights are protected.