A car accident often happens when you least expect it, leaving you feeling stressed or shocked. Knowing the important steps to take following a car accident can save you a lot of headache down the road. Brush up on our 6 steps below to remain calm and prepared if an incident ever does occur.
- Move to Safety
To prevent further damage from oncoming vehicles, move your car away from the road, if possible. If you cannot move your car, turn it off and move yourself out of harm’s way while you wait for police or emergency personnel to arrive. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of the incident ahead. Distracted driving by passing drivers can lead to further incident, so be sure you are in a safe spot.
- Check for Injuries
Check yourself and other drivers, passengers and pedestrians for minor or serious injuries. Call for an ambulance if necessary. If you are injured, do not leave your vehicle. Keep your seatbelt fastened and wait for help to arrive.
- Alert the Police
A police report is an easy way for insurance companies to gather accurate information following an accident. Depending on your insurance company policy, a police report may be required to file a claim. Even if you are not sure that a police report is necessary, you may choose to file one as a precaution.
- Take Photographs of the Scene
Names, insurance information and license plate numbers are important, but photographs and details from witnesses are just as crucial. Take clear photos of all vehicle and or property damage, any injuries, as well as photos of other people involved or at the scene.
Photos from the scene are the best proof of damages and even the cause of the accident, and will help you if any false claims are made. Having photographic evidence from the scene can help you prove your claim to the insurance company involved. If you are injured, take photos at the scene if possible, as well as the days following the accident, as some injuries may not be immediately evident.
- Collect All Necessary Information
It is important to document as much information from the scene as possible. Write down the date, time and location of the accident. Collect the other driver’s name, driver’s license number and contact information, as well as insurance and policy numbers if possible. Don’t forget to document the make, model and year, and license plate number of all vehicles involved. If there are eyewitnesses, gather their contact information as well.
Remember to write down the name of the responding officer and his/her contact information. Ask when the police report will be available, and be sure to pick it up from the police station when possible. Never admit to any wrongdoing or blame others after the accident, as there is often confusion and shock, and the details may not be clear. Tell the details as you recall them, but do not speculate.
- Go to the Doctor
It is important to go to the doctor following an accident, even if you feel fine. You may not be aware that you were injured until the initial shock of being involved in a car accident wears off. Oftentimes, injuries from minor accidents are not apparent or visible until hours or days later.