10 Things to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
First Car Accident? Do These 10 Things Immediately
Accidents happen, which is why it’s always a good idea to be prepared. Because although they’re unexpected, they happen, even to experienced drivers.
If you’re new to driving, it’s important to know exactly what to do when an accident occurs. There are steps you should always take, regardless of who’s at fault. If it’s your first car accident, even a fender-bender is going to be scary. But if you know what to do ahead of time, it’ll be less so.
If you follow these 10 important steps, then you can rest assured that things will run as smoothly as possible when resolving insurance settlements, taking care of medical claims, or going to court, if it comes to that.
1. Do Not Drive Off
Even if you think the accident is minor, don’t just leave. It’s important to make sure all parties involved are uninjured and that no damage is done to any vehicle involved.
Even if you’re the only person involved in an accident, you’re responsible for possible property damage. It’s never okay to leave the scene of an accident.
2. Move to the Side
If this is your first car accident, and even if it isn’t, you may think that you should leave your car exactly where the accident happened. But that’s not always the case. If possible, it’s best to move to the side of the road. That way you can safely access the situation and exchange information without blocking traffic.
3. Assess the Situation
Take a good look at the damage that’s done to any vehicles involved and see if anyone is injured. The first priority is to attend to anyone who might be in need of first aid, CPR, or an ambulance.
After that, walk all around your vehicle and any other vehicle involved in the accident to see what kind of damage has been done.
4. Call the Police
If anyone is injured, call 911 right away. If it’s not an emergency, call the non-emergency police line.
If this is your first car accident, you may not be aware that many insurance companies require a police report. It’s also a good idea to get an unbiased assessment of the accident.
5. Write it Down
Write down exactly what happened while it’s still fresh in your memory. Sometimes the effects of a concussion or whiplash won’t be felt until hours later. But both can affect your memory of events. This will also help you to recall what happened to the police so that they can take an accurate report.
Do NOT admit fault.
6. Take Pictures
Everyone these days has access to cameras on their phones, so it’s easy to get photos of the scene. Take pictures of any damage to all vehicles.
Also take pictures of the people involved in the accident and any witnesses, plus pictures of where the witnesses were standing when the accident occurred.
7. Exchange Information
Even though this information will be taken down by a police officer, it’s still a good idea to have this information for yourself, if you are involved in a collision.
Take down names, make, model, color and year of the vehicles.
You should also get insurance information directly from the other person’s card. That way you can see if their insurance is up-to-date. Keep a file with all of this information, plus all of the above information. Also, keep records of all contact with your insurance.
DO NOT allow your license or registration to be photographed.
DO NOT provide your address or contact information to the other driver.
8. Contact Your Insurance
Contact your insurance company right away. It’s required by most insurance companies to let them know of any accident, regardless of damage. Have your policy information ready. But you should also verify what is covered in regards to damage, liability and medical. Some insurance policies include a car rental if your car needs to be repaired.
If your car is in need of repairs or is totaled, your car will need to be evaluated by a claims adjuster. This person will assess the damage to your car. They will determine the cost the insurance will pay for repairs, based on this evaluation. If your car is totaled, your insurance should pay for the value of the car, depending on your policy.
You do have the right to have your car evaluated by a mechanic of your choice and repaired by a mechanic of your choice. Your or the other person’s insurance company can pay either you or your mechanic directly. However, some insurance companies do require that mechanics are licensed and approved.
In addition, any payment of repairs, replacement or medical bills is less any deductible you might have on your insurance policy.
9. Seek Medical Attention
It goes without saying that if you or anyone involved in a car accident is injured, you should seek medical attention right away. It’s okay to call for an ambulance, even if your injuries aren’t visible. Often a car accident will leave a person disoriented and in shock, and therefore unfit to drive.
Some injuries don’t show up immediately after a car accident. Neck and back pain may turn up a day or two afterward. Even minor car accidents can cause major and even permanent injuries.
Seek medical attention right away, even if you believe you’re fine, but especially if you lost consciousness for any length of time. It’s always helpful to have documentation from a medical professional.
10. Notify Your Attorney
One of the most important things you can do after a car accident is to call your attorney. An attorney is always looking out for your best interest. The other parties involved and your insurance company are not.
Even if you never have to go to court, your attorney can give you great advice on how to make sure you’re getting the most compensation to cover any medical bills, car repairs or replacement, or even loss of wages due to missing work. Most lawyers who specialize in auto accidents and injuries only get paid if you do. This means that you don’t have to pay legal fees above and beyond any compensation.
Your First Car Accident
What to do after a car collision?
Before you get into your car the next time, and for sure before you ever get into your first car accident, make sure you know what to do. This means keeping a list like this in your glove box.
You may believe that you know what to do, but following a car accident, most people don’t have their wits about them. And you might find yourself dealing with a person who also doesn’t have their wits about them.
Car accidents can be scary. But if you’re prepared, you can handle things in a calm way and with little conflict.
Good luck and drive safe!
For more article about protecting your rights, contact The Benton Law Firm.