Typically, after getting involved in a car accident, people will call 911 and wait for assistance, not thinking there may be other people that need help or other steps to make the accident seem less negative.
Most people will not think in detail of the collision until they face an attorney or with a police officer. This should be avoided by anyone involved, as any detail can help your car accident attorney work toward the best outcome for you.
Whether you are at fault or not, below are the eight critical steps that you should do after being involved in a car accident.
1. Check If You are Injured
Right after the accident, check whether you are afflicted. In case of minor injuries, call an ambulance or ask someone else to do it for you. However, if you are badly hurt, then it is recommended not to move and wait for emergency personnel who can provide you with proper treatment.
2. Check Others for Injuries
If you are able to move, then it is important to check the health of the other passengers in your vehicle. In case anyone is injured, then call the emergency services or ask someone else to call for help – preferably the other driver if they are not injured.
3. Get Yourself to Safety
If you’ve ruled out any injuries and both you and your passengers can move, it is advised to move to the sidewalk, or to the side of the road.
Also, if you think your vehicle may be causing a hazard,consider moving it as well, if it can be driven. If not, leave the vehicle as it is and get to safety.
4. Call the Police
It doesn’t matter whether the crash is minor or major, you should contact the police. In some states, a minor accident can be just walked away from, after the drivers have reached common grounds.
However, in most states, you are legally obliged to report a car accident to the authorities. Moreover, having a copy of the police report when filing a claim with your insurer may be helpful with the claims process.
5. Wait for Help
While waiting for the police, turn off the vehicle’s engine, have your hazard lights turned on, and make use of your road flares – which can be found in the car’s emergency kit – to warn other approaching vehicles to slow down.
6. Exchange Information with Other Drivers
Exchanging information is essential as, when determining who’s at fault, an inspection of the details provided, the destruction, and supporting documentation will be done.
Get the full name and contact information of everyone involved, as well as of witnesses, the number of the insurance company and policy, the license plate number and driver’s license information of all the drivers, the type, model, and color of the vehicles involved in the accident, as well as its location.
7. Chronicle the Accident
To protect yourself from any fake claims, it is recommended to document the accident in its entirety. Identify the officers who show up following your 911 call and get a copy of the accident report as well.
Also, take pictures of the accident’s scene if possible. Photograph license plates, vehicles, break marks, and so on. Talking to witnesses and noting their name can also be helpful, as they can provide the authorities with external, unbiased information, which can help determine exactly who is at fault.
8. Inform Your Insurer; Start the Claims Process
Last but not least, it is suggested to your insurance agent as soon as possible – preferably while you are still at the scene of the accident. They can tell you exactly what to do and what information to gather.
Your insurance agent will also tell you what they need in order to process your claim, as well as what to expect once the claims process starts.
The Bottom Line
Even the smallest of collisions can cause panic and confusion. In such circumstances, it is advocated to keep calm and follow the aforementioned eight steps.
By doing so, you not only make sure that everyone involved in the accident is safe but also that any claims process/ trial will go as smoothly as possible, given the evidence you have gathered.
Moreover, gathering such evidence will get your insurance company working on repairing your vehicle as quickly as possible.