3 Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Dec 13, 2023
3 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in a fender bender, you want to recover immediately. Taking these three steps can protect your well-being — and help you get the care you need to heal quickly — after a car accident.

Car travel is convenient and inherently risky — even the most skilled driver can get into an unexpected collision when they encounter an inexperienced or distracted driver, bad weather, a speeding vehicle, or some other accident-heightening factor.  

Knowing what to do if you get into a car accident can help you manage the situation as much as possible. At the scene of a minor to moderate fender bender, this often entails:

  • Checking yourself and your passengers for injury
  • Moving your car or yourself to a safer area, if possible
  • Calling emergency responders and waiting for help
  • Exchanging key information with the other driver 
  • Documenting the accident (i.e., photos, police report) 

These initial actions are essential, but your next steps — those that seek to address injuries and safeguard your health and well-being — are arguably the most important steps you’ll take in the aftermath of an accident. Here, our expert team at Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center explains what those steps involve. 

Car accidents can cause a range of injuries

A motor vehicle collision — even a relatively minor fender bender — can cause a range of obvious injuries as well as hidden physical trauma. This hidden trauma may cause immediate pain, or it may trigger delayed-onset pain in the days and weeks after the accident. 

The swift inertia change in a car accident can cause soft tissue damage at contact points, such as when your body strains against your seatbelt or the airbag propels into your chest. It can also cause deeper soft tissue damage in body parts more affected by extreme inertia changes, like your head, neck, and back. 

Common car accident injury trauma and symptoms include: 

  • Whiplash and neck pain
  • Lower back pain and injury 
  • Joint sprains or dislocation
  • Muscle strain; bone fractures 
  • Nerve or spinal disc damage
  • Extremity swelling and pain
  • Concussion and headaches

It’s important to recognize that even if you don’t notice any injuries or feel pain at the scene of the accident, accident trauma can emerge gradually in the hours and days after a collision. This is especially common in cases of whiplash and lower back injuries. 

Protecting your well-being after an accident

In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, the health and well-being of all involved is far more important than any damage that’s been sustained by the vehicles. These three steps can help you assess your physical trauma, protect your health, and get you the care you need to recover as quickly as possible: 

1. Get evaluated at the scene

After the vehicle has settled from the impact, see if you can move without pain as soon as possible. If you can’t tell whether you’re injured, call for help right away. Once the first responders have arrived at the scene, let them evaluate you for injuries — even if you feel perfectly fine. You may be sent home from the scene or taken to the hospital, depending on what they find. 

2. Check in with your doctor 

Whether you went straight home, spent a couple of hours in the ER, or stayed in the hospital for a few days, your next step is to check in with your primary care physician. As the health care provider who knows you best, your doctor is well-positioned to assess your early healing, offer recommendations about rest and treatment, and make referrals for specialist care as needed. 

By having a full check-up soon after your accident, you can attain expert advice to help guide your healing and better insight into what to expect from your recovery. Your doctor can also tell you what to watch out for — including the warning signs of delayed onset pain. 

3. Visit our injury specialists 

If you were in a moderate or severe car crash, or if you’re starting to feel even a minor amount of pain, stiffness, or weakness in specific body areas following any kind of accident, your next step is to see our chiropractic care team at Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center.  

Our comprehensive musculoskeletal assessment can help you identify areas of deep trauma early on — sometimes before they trigger symptoms — so you can get the care you need to foster faster healing and complete recovery. 

Have you been in an accident? We can help

By detecting hidden trauma and providing an individualized treatment plan to support optimal healing at every level of function, we don’t simply help you recover faster; we also help reduce your risk of injury-related complications, protect you from developing a chronic pain condition, and support your long-term health and well-being. 

Have you been in a car accident? We’re here to help. Call or click online to schedule an appointment today with Dr. Lincoln German or Dr. Mikaela Foley at Spine Care of Manassas Chiropractic Center in Manassas, Virginia.