When the unexpected happens and you’re involved in a crash, tensions and anxieties often run high. You’re frustrated that the other driver wasn’t paying attention and, often, in a lot of pain. Things get significantly more complicated and tense when your little one is in the vehicle with you. Frustration can quickly, and understandably, turn into fear and anger. The idea that someone else’s carelessness harmed or could have harmed your child is enough for most parents to see red.
As parents ourselves, we can relate to your anger and fear. To that end, we’ve highlighted the key things you need to do after an accident to protect yourself and your child.
First things first, get out of harm’s way. If the vehicles are drivable, pull over to the side of the road where it’s unlikely that another vehicle will cause a second accident. If the vehicles are not drivable and cannot be moved, get yourself and your little one off the car and safely off the road.
Take photos of the scene, the vehicles, and drivers involved, as well as any damaged car seats or personal items. The insurance company will send you money for a new car seat after an accident.. You do not need to continue to use it once it’s been crashed. There is simply no way to know if it’s been damaged and is no longer safe to use. Some police officers will even cut the seat belts to make sure it’s not used again.
Get police and EMS on the scene as quickly as possible. You’ll need help from local authorities to investigate the crash, gather statements, get insurance information from the other parties involved, and help facilitate medical attention.
The other driver might try to convince you to just exchange information and go on your way, but you absolutely cannot cut corners when your child is involved in the accident with you. More information is always best.
We can’t tell you how often it comes up that the other driver gives expired insurance information or a fake policy number after the crash to avoid paying for your damages. Save yourself the future headache and call 911 right away.
Depending on the age of your child, they might be panic-stricken after a crash. Nothing is going to make them feel safe, like your touch and voice to soothe them. It will also help you think clearly about the next steps you need to take if you know your child is calm or at least not screaming and crying.
Once they're a little calmer, it will be easier to ascertain the extent of their injuries. You’ll be able to identify if their cries are due to pain from injuries or fear. When in doubt, get medical attention right away. Sometimes a quick well-exam can give parents peace of mind that everything is okay even if nothing is visible right away.
It’s not uncommon for injuries to take a couple of days to appear. Right after an accident, your adrenaline is pumping, and it can take a while for your body to relax. The same goes for your child. Over the next couple of weeks try to monitor their appetite, energy level, their sleep patterns, and appetite to see if they’re acting like business as usual.
For little ones that cannot verbalize their complaints yet, you might notice trouble sleeping, more frequent night wake-ups, loss of appetite, increase anxiety, and/or the desire to be always held or close to you. Some of the symptoms might go away with time as they become more confident and feel more secure, but don/t be surprised if your little one needs help to process what happened.
When you or your child is injured in an accident, make sure to call an accident attorney right away. They will help investigate the crash and start building the strongest case possible to recover for your damages as well as those owed to your child.