Each year, around 6 million car accidents happen in the U.S. Out of these, 1.9 million caused injuries, while 33,000 were fatal.
Even if you’re careful, getting involved in a car accident can happen unexpectedly. Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a serious crash, you might end up too shaken to think about your next steps.
It’s important to educate yourself about the necessary steps if you get into a car crash. Knowing what to do after an accident makes you safer. At the same time, resolving later issues becomes easier.
Read on as we discuss 10 things to do after an automobile accident.
1. Get to Safety
If the accident was minor, you’re unlikely to sustain injuries. In this case, drive your car to the side of the road. It prevents you from impeding the traffic.
Keep your hazard lights on and set up reflective warning triangles if you have any. It alerts other drivers to slow down. However, if the accident was severe or if people got injured, stay in place.
Be cautious when going out of your car or driving it to the side. You may still be in shock, so avoid acting on impulse.
2. Check On The Other People in the Accident
Check on yourself to determine whether you have any injuries. After that, examine other people involved in the accident.
Make sure everyone is safe and look for anyone in need of medical attention. It includes both people in your car and other involved parties. If someone has an injury, call an ambulance immediately.
3. Call the Police
The next thing to do after a vehicle accident is to call the police. If the accident and injuries are minor, call the local non-emergency police line to make a report. If there’s serious damage or injuries, call 911.
While you think calling the police is unnecessary, it’s important to make a report. Accident reports can be helpful once lawyers and insurance companies get involved. They hold important details about the accident.
Sometimes, if the accident was minor, police may collect information over the phone instead of sending an officer.
4. Collect Information
Get the other drivers’ information after settling injuries and police reports. Take notes or use your phone’s camera to photograph their documents.
Write down their name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information. Document their driver’s license numbers as well.
See if the driver’s name matches the car’s registration or insurance papers. If it doesn’t, determine the driver’s relation to the vehicle’s owner.
Gather information about the vehicles as well. Note the year, make and model, and color. Note the street or address where the accident occurred.
When the police arrive, take note of the officer’s name, badge number, and contact details. Obtain a copy of the accident report.
5. Document the Scene
Use your phone camera to document as many details about the accident as possible. Use your voice recorder if it’s more convenient for you to narrate the details as you find them.
Check the damage to your car. Photograph any damages from every angle. If you or any of your passengers sustained injuries, take pictures as well.
Photograph the entire accident scene. Take pictures of skid marks, property damage, and the like. Note the direction of each involved vehicle before and after the accident.
6. Talk to Witnesses
Witnesses can give statements about how the accident occurred from their perspective. Many insurance adjusters may try to discredit them. Regardless, they’re still crucial to have.
Talk to witnesses near the scene. Get their name and contact details. Try to get their written statement with their signature and the date whenever appropriate.
7. Avoid Arguing About Responsibility
Emotions can be at an all-time high after a car accident. The other people involved may start finding faults and throwing blame. If it’s the other driver’s fault and they’re denying it, never resort to arguments.
Apart from collecting important information, avoid starting or entering discussions about responsibility. If you think the other driver is aggressive or not in the right frame of mind, back away. It’s best not to involve yourself in a physical confrontation.
8. Contact a Lawyer
A lawyer is also one of the first people you must call after an accident. They can help you file a claim with your insurance company. They’ll know the tactics to work around insurance adjusters.
Calling your lawyer can also be helpful if you’re still too shaken up to recall the details you need to collect. Remember, these details are important for your claim and other legal actions.
9. Notify Your Insurance Company
It may be tempting to negotiate a deal and avoid making an insurance claim. However, not informing your insurance company can leave you liable for damages from the accident.
You might suffer damages the other driver’s insurance can’t cover. Your insurance claims professional can also help you navigate your options.
10. Seek Medical Attention
Your well-being and health must be your priority. You have no visible injuries immediately after the car accident. However, some injuries could manifest within the next few days.
You can also get severe head or spinal injuries from a minor crash. Going to the hospital must be your first action after leaving the accident site. Otherwise, you might have fatal internal bleeding.
Consider going to a chiropractor as well. Check this chiropractic blog to know how a chiropractor can help you recover from an accident.
Learn the Next Steps After a Car Accident Now
Accidents happen all the time, often leaving you shaken afterward. However, there are important things to do after a car accident. It helps you maintain everyone’s safety. It will also help in processes like insurance claims or legal actions.
Check on yourself and other people after the crash before calling the police. Get an ambulance for the injured. Collect and document all the information you can.
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