Immediately after you have been in a car accident your adrenaline will be pumping and you may not be thinking clearly. Take a deep breath and then make sure that you are fully prepared for what you need to do next to protect yourself and safeguard other drivers.
1. Stay at the Scene
You should never leave the scene of an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident that you’re involved in can be a criminal offence. You should find a place that you can pull over safely and turn on your hazard lights. Making sure that you are not blocking any traffic or in danger of causing another accident is also very important, so take a moment to take a deep breath and then move to a safe spot.
2. Call 911
If anyone is injured, or you suspect that there are people injured, you should always call 911 as soon as possible in order to get medical assistance and police assistance. Again, you need to stay calm and be ready to explain the situation clearly and calmly to the operator.
3. Exchange Information
Once you have completed steps one and two, and it appears that everyone is either not injured, or they have received the urgent care that they need, you should start the process of exchanging information. The information that you need to exchange extends beyond just the insurance info, you’ll also need to exchange drivers license and plate numbers with them. Find a pad and paper to take down their contact information and the make and model of the care too.
4. Take Pictures
You have a smartphone in your pocket, use it! By taking pictures of the accident, you will have a great deal of evidence that can really help you in cases where liability for the accident is in dispute. Pictures of any damage to the vehicles is also a very good tool to help establish what was caused by the accident and what may have been from a previous incident.
5. Get medical attention anyway
Even if you just feel a little off, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional. This is especially important if you hit your head hard. If you incur any expenses or are given any bills for this treatment or prescriptions then you should hold onto them as well.
6. Keep all of your information in one place
You’ve just been in an accident and you may still be in a little bit of shock. All of the information that you have gathered is very important and you need it all in a safe place. Don’t absentmindedly throw it in the garbage or stuff it into a pocket. Take a deep breath and put it somewhere safe.
7. Speak to an accident lawyer
Do this before you speak to your insurance company, this is very important. The last thing you want to do is to be trapped into saying something to your insurance that is not an accurate and true representation of what took place. Speaking with your car accident lawyer first will give you time to process the events of the accident and talk it through before you speak to your insurance company.
8. Report the Accident
You must report the accident to the police and get a report number in order for your insurance paperwork to be filed correctly. Taking the time to do this the right way will protect you and your insurance claim from any interference by the other party.