No matter how careful of a driver you are, there’s still a chance that you could get into a car accident. They happen all of the time. In fact, there are 6 million vehicle accidents every year in the US, with 3 million people being injured each year.
Yet, even though car accidents are quite common and can happen to anyone, very few people know what to do in these situations.
It’s very important that you know what to do in the event of a car accident, as this will help you stay safe and get the compensation you deserve. Check out this guide to learn about the top things you need to do after you get in a car accident.
1. Pull Over to the Side of the Road
Whether you’re the victim of the accident or the cause of it, you need to pull your vehicle over to the side of the road. This is the case whether it’s a huge crash or just a minor fender bender.
Not pulling over is actually illegal, and if you don’t do it, you could end up being fined later on. When pulling to the side of the road, make sure you do so carefully. The last thing you want to do is cause another accident in your attempt to pull over.
Once you pull over, you can secure the accident scene by setting up flares or turning your flashers on. If it’s dark outside, grab a flashlight from your car or turn on your phone’s flashlight for some extra light. Also, if it appears that there could be an explosion at the scene, move everyone away as quickly as possible.
2. Call the Police
Even if it appears that no one has sustained any serious injuries, it’s still a good idea to call the police.
In order to file a claim with your insurance company, you may need to show proof of a police report. Until the police arrive, the vehicles should remain where they are, unless they’re interfering with oncoming traffic.
3. Check for Injuries
While waiting for the police to arrive, make sure you check to see if you’ve suffered any injuries. You should also check with the passengers of your vehicle to see how they’re doing.
If anyone is seriously injured, make sure you request an ambulance to the scene when you call the police. Also, keep in mind that just because you don’t notice any injuries right away, doesn’t mean you haven’t been hurt.
In a lot of cases, people don’t start noticing car accident injuries until days later. If you have been injured at the scene and want to seek compensation for your injuries, then you may need to hire a car accident attorney. You can visit this site to learn more about hiring a car accident attorney.
4. Document the Crash
It’s also very important that you take the time to document everything at the scene. If you have a camera on your phone or one handy, take pictures of all the vehicles involved in the crash. Make sure to get good pictures of areas where there’s any noticeable damage.
Also, if you have any visible injuries, make sure to take pictures of those as well. However, make sure you don’t move anything or do anything to interfere with the investigation. If you’re not able to take pictures at the accident scene, take them as soon as you can.
You should also write down all the details you can recall about the accident. While the accident may be fresh in your mind now, details may start to get fuzzy in a couple of days.
By writing down everything that happened, you’ll be able to present your lawyer and your insurance company with an accurate picture of everything that happened.
5. Exchange Information
It’s also very important that you exchange information with the driver of the other vehicle.
Typically, the investigating officer will obtain this information. However, if an officer doesn’t respond to the accident, then you’ll be responsible for gathering this information.
How much information you’re expected to give and obtain at the scene of an accident varies according to state laws. Still, it’s a good idea to get as much information as possible. This includes:
- Name and insurance information of the other driver
- Witness contact info
- Other driver’s phone number
If an officer does come to the scene of the accident, you’ll also want to get a copy of their report as well as their name, telephone number, and badge number.
6. Report the Accident
As soon as you can, report the accident to your insurance company.
If the accident was your fault and there’s only a bit of damage, it may be tempting to offer to pay cash to cover the costs, so you don’t have to deal with the insurance companies. However, this usually ends up being costlier, so the best thing to do is to report.
Many insurance companies require that you report immediately and cooperate fully with the investigation, so make sure you take care of this ASAP. When contacting your insurance company, you’ll want to find out if your insurance coverage includes any medical benefits.
7. Seek Medical Attention and Legal Help
After the accident, it’s also a good idea to seek medical attention and legal help. As we mentioned earlier, many car accident injuries are not apparent immediately. Most people don’t realize they’re injured until a day or two after the accident.
So, unless you’re absolutely positive that you weren’t injured, we suggest seeking medical attention. Even minor crashes can result in severe damage to your spinal cord. Also, if you hit your head in the accident, you may be suffering from a concussion that you’re unaware of.
It’s also a good idea to consult with an attorney after the accident. Your attorney can help you protect your rights and make sure that any valuable evidence wasn’t destroyed. Your attorney can also ensure that you’re fairly compensated for damage to your vehicle, as well as your injuries.
Now that you know what to do after a car accident, you’ll be better prepared in the event of a crash. Comment below if you have any questions about handling a car accident!