8 Important Actions to Take After a Car Accident
Have you ever been in a car accident? If not, you’re incredibly lucky. Car accidents are commonplace, and it’s likely that you’ll experience one at some point if you ever drive or ride in a car. Even a small fender-bender can be incredibly stressful.
Most people don’t know what to do after a car accident, which makes the experience far more stressful. We’re here to discuss a few things that you should do after any car accident so you can be prepared. Read on to learn more.
1. Check Yourself for Injuries
The first thing you should do when you get into a car accident is to check yourself for injuries. Even if you feel completely fine, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Sometimes injuries aren’t immediately obvious, and you may not even know they happened until later.
Neck and back injuries are good examples of injuries that can initially go unnoticed. Even serious injuries, like concussions, may not be obvious right away.
On that note, even if you don’t see any apparent injuries, you may want to visit a doctor after the car accident. You’ll want a medical report from a doctor if you choose to hire a personal injury lawyer and pursue damages for your car accident case. That medical report will be evidence in the future.
If you’re too injured to move, call 911 immediately instead of going through the other steps on the list. Your safety is your top priority. You can take care of the rest of the steps later or have someone else complete them for you.
2. Check Passengers for Injuries
If there are other passengers in the car, make sure you check on them as well. Make sure that everyone is safe and uninjured before you do anything else.
Have all passengers check themselves for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 right away. Again, you’ll want passengers to be evaluated by a doctor if possible if you plan on pursuing damages.
3. Get Somewhere Safe
Once you know that you and your passengers are uninjured, it’s time to get to safety. This can be challenging depending on where your car was at the time of the accident.
If your car is in the middle of the road, try to get it to the side of the road. If you’re on a highway, this may be challenging, but if you leave your car in the middle of the road, it could lead to an even worse accident.
If the car is too damaged to move, you can leave it to get yourself to safety, but make sure you mention it to the police when you call 911. They will prepare for it so they can have the car removed from the road and set up barriers to protect other people from the car.
Ideally, you and the other driver will both bring your cars somewhere close to each other so you can exchange information easily and assess the damage.
4. Call 911
If you haven’t already, it’s time to contact emergency services. When you call 911, they’ll send the appropriate authorities to help you based on the situation you relay to them.
Give as many details as possible. Note your location and look for notable landmarks, especially if you’re on the highway or in the middle of nowhere. This will make it easier for emergency services to get to you.
If someone is injured, mention this as well. They’ll be able to send out an ambulance for you rather than just the police cars.
Note that someone else may have already contacted the authorities for you. Don’t worry about this. It’s always better to contact them even if they’ve been notified already.
5. Check on the Other Driver
If it’s safe to do so, check on the other driver. You’re going to need them for the next step of the process, but first, make sure they’re okay.
If the other driver is up and moving around, you can move on to the next step. If not, evaluate the situation and see if they need medical help or help to get to a safe place. You may need to contact emergency services again if that’s the case to update them with this new information.
6. Exchange Information
As long as the other driver is okay, it’s time to start exchanging information. So what type of information should you be exchanging? At the very least, you’re going to need the following:
- Their full name
- Their contact information (preferably phone number)
- Insurance information (company and policy number)
- Make, model, and color of the vehicle
- Location of the accident
If the accident was minor and the cars weren’t seriously damaged, you may be able to leave soon after this, but it’s a good idea to wait for the police so you have official documentation of what happened.
Do not discuss who was at fault with the other driver or the police. Keep everything factual.
7. Document Everything
You want to document as much evidence as possible both for a future legal case (if you choose to pursue one) and your insurance company.
If you can, take pictures of both cars and the nearby surroundings to document the damage. Make sure to get the other car’s license plate in your photos.
If there were witnesses, see if you can get information from them. There may also be local businesses with outdoor cameras that could have captured the accident.
Document the names and badge numbers of the officers who arrived on the scene.
Getting this much information may seem like overkill, but it’s better to have too much information than not enough.
8. Start the Claims Process
Now it’s time to deal with your insurance company. If they have a mobile app, you may be able to use it while you’re on the scene. If not, you’re going to have to call.
Your insurer can arrange for a tow truck to move your car if necessary. In the meantime, they’ll tell you any information you’re going to need in order to move forward with the claim. It’s best to contact them while you’re still on the scene because you’ll be able to document everything.
That’s What to Do After a Car Accident
Hopefully, you never end up needing to know what to do after a car accident, but knowledge is power. Now that you know the right steps to take, you’re prepared. Keep these steps in mind so you can protect yourself in a car accident.
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