Car accidents can be terrifying. You’re likely shocked by the impact and maybe even injured. If it’s your first time in an accident, you’re probably confused, too. What are you supposed to do?
It’s important to understand typical car accident procedures to protect yourself in the aftermath. Regardless of the reason for the accident, being prepared will significantly ensure your safety. Consider the following steps when possible:
- Stay at the accident site. Whether you crash into another car or someone hits you, never leave the scene. If you are able, move out of the middle of the road to prevent any further injuries or collisions.
- Check for injuries. If you’re conscious and able to move, check the passengers in your car and the driver and passengers of the other vehicle. If you or anyone else is severely injured, do not move; instead, wait for someone to check on you.
- Call the police. You must call the police if there is significant property damage, injury, or death. Make sure any injured passengers receive proper medical attention and file a police report of the accident.
- Get the other driver’s information. You must have the other driver’s name, contact information, license plate number, and insurance information.
- Don’t admit fault. It’s might not be obvious who’s at fault after an accident. It may have been the other driver; it may have been both of you. When you admit guilt, you are setting yourself up for being legally liable for the accident.
- Take photos and talk to witnesses. As soon as you can, take pictures of property damage to your vehicle and your injuries. If any drivers stopped at the scene to help, you might also want to ask for their information as a witness, which can help you in the future, especially if you were not at fault.
- Talk to your insurance company. Report the incident honestly. Your accurate recount will help ensure you will receive coverage for any vehicle damage or personal injuries.
- Record your medical treatment. If the accident leaves you severely injured, it’s essential to keep detailed records of doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and other medical treatment you receive. The more information you collect to explain your injuries and prove how the accident has affected your life, the more eligible you may be for coverage and compensation.
- Consult an attorney. It can be overwhelming knowing what to do after an accident, especially if you’re suffering from an injury. A knowledgeable attorney could help ensure you receive proper compensation from the other driver or help defend you if you were at fault.
A serious car accident can change your whole life. The more prepared you are for what to do after an accident, the safer you will be. By reviewing and understanding these steps, you can protect yourself – and others – when you are on the road.