Do you know what to do immediately after a car accident? It’s more than collecting the other driver’s details. We’ll walk you through the basic steps to take following an accident but first, let’s begin with a little advice on what you can do in advance.
Preparation Before an Accident
Always have an emergency kit in your car. It should include a first aid kit; flashlight and flares; seat belt cutter and window breaker; as well as orange cones so other drivers can keep a safe distance.
Add a pen, a pad of paper and an accident report form. Be sure to include the names and numbers of contact persons, so the police can reach loved ones about your accident if you are unable to. A card listing your medical conditions or allergies is also a wise idea.
If You Have an Accident
First, make sure everyone is safe and tend to the injured. Check on the passengers in your car and anyone else who was involved in the accident. Call 911 if someone needs urgent medical attention. Be mindful of your own condition since drivers tend to forget about their immediate needs after an accident.
Call the local police so they can file a report. Do this even if it is a minor accident or no one is injured. They will collect evidence, take witnesses’ statements and help with traffic control. The report may become vital evidence if you need to defend your version of how the accident occurred.
Take your own notes and photos. Write accurate detailed notes while the accident is still fresh in your mind. Also, before the vehicles are moved, take photos of both vehicles, any injuries, the road surface and the surrounding area. This goes a long way in helping with your insurance claim.
Exchange information with the other driver. Get their name, address and telephone number. Also, write down the name of their insurance carrier and their policy number, as well as the make and model of their vehicle and its license plate number. In addition, collect contact information from passengers in both vehicles and from any witnesses.
Ask the police for the report number. If the police arrive, they will collect the above information, but you should ask for the report number. Your insurance company may need a copy of the report when processing your claim. Furthermore, the report will be very useful to your car accident attorney, if you need to file a lawsuit for personal injury damages, against the other driver.
Contact your insurer and, if required, the DMV. Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible to begin the process of filing a claim. Some states require you to report the accident to the DMV and there is usually a time limit for doing this. You can check here to find the requirements in your state.
No one wants to be in a car accident but … accidents do happen. Whether or not you are the one responsible, the best approach to any car accident is knowing from beforehand exactly what to do afterwards.