When you know the things to do immediately after a car accident, you can take precautions necessary to avoid a negative outcome later. Not taking certain precautions can put you at risk for injury, astronomical fees, lawsuits, and even criminal activity if you aren’t aware of what to do at the scene of an accident. It’s easy to panic during or after an accident and forget to take certain steps, which I think you can all relate to if you’ve ever found yourself in an accident. Be sure you know what things to do immediately after a car accident so the process is as painless as possible.
1. Make Sure You Can Get out of Your Vehicle
The most important of all things to do immediately after a car accident is to make sure you’re okay. Sometimes, initial panic can make us jolt out of a car when we might be injured, or we panic and try to get out of a dangerous situation. First, make sure you are okay, and locate your cell phone. If you can safely exit the car then do so. If it puts you in danger to get out the car or you cannot move, stay where you are.
2. Call 911
Dial 911 immediately, even if you are okay. Reporting an accident is the very first thing you should do after making sure you are okay. The quicker they get to you, the faster you can get treatment if needed and the quicker an accident report can be filed, which is required for an insurance claim. Even if there is no other party involved or they flee the scene, you should still call 911 so your insurance can be covered, and they can possibly locate the other party later.
3. Talk to the Other Party
This is also one of the most important things to do immediately after a car accident. If there is another party involved in the accident, it is crucial to acknowledge them. Even if that someone was on a bicycle, walking in traffic, or in another car, be sure you talk to them afterwards. This is for a few reasons. First, it protects you from any criminal activity that you could face if you don’t, and also ensures their safety and them filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against you. Both of you should exchange insurance information at this point as well.
4. Have Your Information Ready
When cops arrive to the scene to file an accident report, which is normal, be sure you have all your information ready. Have your license, registration, and insurance information on hand. I advise keeping this all together in your car in a safe place at all times for something like this, and always carry your license when driving a car, even if you're only going just up the street.
5. Tell Your Story
Most officers will question each person involved separately when an accident occurs. Now is not the time to lie, no matter how bad things are. Be honest about what happened, and don’t worry about what the other party says. The evidence of the scene will show you’re telling the truth so long as you do, and the proper insurance claim can be filed.
6. Get to a Hospital
If you’re not sure if you’re hurt, or have minor injuries, be sure you get to a hospital immediately. Even if it seems minor, you could have suffered a fracture, concussion, or more that can get worse over time if not treated immediately. Do not risk your health, regardless that emergency rooms can be a nightmare.
7. Stay in Touch with Your Insurance Company
You should usually report your accident to the insurance injury the day of the accident, but if they are closed, call as soon as they open the next morning. So long as you contacted law enforcement at the scene, you’re legally protected, but not contacting your insurance agent as soon as possible can come with many, many negative consequences you’ll want to avoid, and can delay repairs for your car, or insurance money assistance.
Car accidents are some of the worst things to deal with in life, but most of us have experienced them either ourselves, or with other people. If you’ve ever been in an accident, what would you say is the most important thing to do first?