The steps you take after a car accident can save lives, reduce injuries, help obtain a quick settlement from car insurance providers, and keep you away from trouble with law enforcement. When emotions are running high, however, it can be difficult to remember what to do after a car crash.
The following are eight steps to take after an accident:
- Check for injuries. Before assessing the damage to all vehicles involved, ensure that everyone in the accident is okay, including yourself. If serious injuries are apparent, call an ambulance for immediate medical attention or ask a bystander to call for help.
- Get to safety. If you can, move to the side of the road or sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road.
- Contact police. Whether your accident was minor or major, police officers need to be called to the scene to fill out an accident report and document the scene. A police report can be critical to the claim process and help establish who’s at fault.
- Exchange information with the other driver. Obtain the names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, get their information as well.
- Talk to witnesses. Ask all witnesses what they saw. If possible, get their contact information.
- Document the scene. Using your cellphone camera, take pictures of all vehicles involved and the accident scene. Photos are considered important pieces of evidence in car accident cases. If you are injured, don’t forget the document the recovery process of your injury.
- Notify your insurer and start the claims process. Contact your insurance provider at the scene, so they can tell you exactly what they will need to process your claims and what to expect during the claims process. Do not admit fault and only provide the basic information they request.
- Consider hiring an attorney. If anyone was injured in the crash, it is wise to consult an experienced lawyer. An attorney can help maximize your recovery if you’re hurt or better defend yourself if you’re at fault.