Seven steps to take if you get into a car accident
It’s important to follow the right processes if you are in a car accident. Here are seven steps you should take.
Over 38,000 Americans die in road crashes every year, with an additional 4.4 million others suffering damages severe enough to require medical attention. That means it is not unlikely for you to get involved in a car accident regardless of how cautious you are while driving.
While it may not be possible to eliminate the possibility of a crash, knowing what to do after a car accident can help minimize injuries, save lives, and help simplify the claims process.
Seven steps to take after an accident
With that in mind, here are seven steps to take after an accident.
1) Check for injuries
Your well-being should always come first in the event of an auto crash. Therefore, the first thing to do should be to assess the resulting injuries. If the injuries on you or any of your vehicle’s occupants look severe, it is always advisable to stay still until emergency help arrives.
However, if you can move, try moving to the side of the road to avoid further injuries. Also, ensure that your car is at a safe spot and set up emergency triangles or flares on the road to warn oncoming vehicles. If you detect the smell of leaking gas, get everyone to a safe distance because leaking gas can result in explosions.
2) Call a lawyer
Contacting your lawyer is another critical step you will want to take after an accident. Besides advising you on what evidence to gather from the accident scene, a specialist car accident attorney will tell you what information to collect from the other drivers.
More importantly, a reputable car accident will handle every aspect of your claim, from the moment you get injured to when you receive a settlement check. That way, your primary focus will be your recovery and getting your life back on track.
3) Call the police
Irrespective of the magnitude of your injuries, calling the police is essential. In some states, it may be a legal requirement to file a report after a traffic accident.
Whether the police show up at the accident scene or you file a report yourself, they will write a detailed report of what happened, the parties involved, and collect any other evidence at the scene. This report forms a critical piece of evidence when filing a claim.
4) Document the scene
If you can, it is always advisable to document the scene of the accident. Whether you use your phone or camera in your car to take pictures of the crash scene, make sure you capture the nature of the collision, license plates, injuries, and damages to your vehicle.
Additionally, you may also want to collect recorded witness testimonies and contacts to help build your case if it goes to trial.
5) Exchange information
Irrespective of who is at fault, exchanging information is vital after an auto crash. When sharing personal details, avoid discussing responsibility and only leave the matter to the relevant parties.
Some of the information to exchange includes:
- Full names
- Contact information
- Driver’s license
- Vehicle license plates
- Insurance company and policy number
6) Seek medical attention
Even when you feel okay, always ensure that you see a doctor after an accident. Some injuries may take some time to show and will require a specialist to rule out the possibility of them. If the injury is very serious, then a private MRI scan will be essential to find underlying injuries caused by the accident that you might not yet be seeing or feeling. Medical records are also a significant piece of evidence that your attorney can use in the claims process.
7) Start the claims process
The claims process begins with notifying your insurer, which should happen as soon as possible. The longer you wait to report your accident, the harder it will be to remember the details around the accident.
Even when you are not at fault, some insurance companies require that you report to them every time you are involved in an accident. Failing to report an accident can put you at the risk of having your insurance contract voided.
Photo by Donny Jiang