Have you or a loved one recently been involved in a car accident? Do you fear the day that you’re ever involved in one? Statistics show that you will, one day, play a part in an accident to some degree.
In fact, stats show that over 77-percent of drivers have been in at least one accident. Insurance actuaries have determined that most drivers will be involved in an auto collision every 17 years.
With statistics like that, you need to be prepared for what to do after a car accident. The steps you take will determine things like your settlement amount, whether or not you’re at fault, and so on. See below for the proper action to take.
Remove Yourself From the Scene
Anytime that you’re in a car accident, you need to start by checking yourself and any passengers in your car for injury. Make sure to check yourself first. Are you able to move? Do you have a safe way out of the vehicle?
Next, check on your passengers. Does anything hurt? Can they move all extremities? Do they need assistance getting out of the car?
Once everyone has been inspected, carefully remove yourself from the car, then move to the side of the road and away from the scene of the crash.
Ideally, the other parties involved in the crash will follow suit. However, if you don’t see any signs of movement in their car, you should carefully make your way over to check on them.
The top priority, above all else, is getting everyone to safety. Offer them help to get to the side of the road if they need it, but make sure you aren’t putting yourself in any danger.
Do not move the car whatsoever. Keep your vehicle exactly where it is and instruct others to do the same. This can help authorities get a better picture of what happened for their police report.
Contact Local Authorities
Once all parties are safely away from the scene of the car accident, the next step in the car accident process is to call 911.
Before you do, check everyone’s injuries to see if they’ll require special medical attention.
As soon as you call 911, the operator will have police officers dispatched to your location. They’ll also send medical assistance, just in case an injury becomes more painful as the adrenaline starts to wear off.
While you’re waiting for the local authorities to arrive, try to refrain from talking to the other party as much as possible. Don’t apologize. Don’t start a confrontation. Just stay amicable and reasonable.
Once the police officers arrive, be honest and tell your side of the story. Hopefully, the other side will do the same.
However, if they’re hysterical and are trying to get a rise out of you, don’t engage. Keep calm and walk away from the situation if you need to.
Remember, officers, are trained to look at the evidence, not the emotions. Time will tell who’s actually to blame for the accident, so pay them no mind.
Get Plenty of Photos
After you’ve given your side of the story to the officers (or while you’re waiting to), take out your smartphone and grab some photos.
While this might seem like an inopportune time to do so, photos are one of the best forms of evidence for your case. They can help you as you communicate with insurance companies, lawyers, etc.
Take pictures of everything you see. The cars, the license plates, the scene of the crash, your injuries, the other driver(s), the witnesses, the police officer(s), and so forth.
All of these will go a long way when you hire an attorney. They’ll paint a better picture of your story, as well as help remind you of what occurred.
These days, most insurance companies won’t take you seriously without pictures of the car accident after it occurred. Your photos can force their hand.
Exchange Your Information
Some people will tell you to exchange information with the other party while you’re waiting for the police to arrive. We recommend waiting until they are there.
With all of the adrenaline and emotion involved in a car accident, things can sometimes get out of hand. Once the officers are there, everyone has had time to calm down.
Even if the other side is unreasonable, you’ll have officers there to take over communications between the two sides.
Make sure that you get the other driver’s name, email address, number, and insurance information. You might even call the number they gave you to ensure it’s real.
Hire an Injury Attorney
As soon as everyone leaves the scene, the first call you make should be to injury attorneys. They can help you navigate the entire process.
If you’re looking for compensation, they can help you build evidence and communicate with the other party’s insurance provider.
If you’re at fault for the car accident, they can help soften the blow of penalties and fees that you might face.
They’ll take the time to hear out your side of the story, then give you step-by-step instructions to follow while they build your case.
What to Do After a Car Accident: Follow These Steps
Now that you have read this article on what to do after a car accident, be sure to follow these steps diligently.
Remember, you should have your eyes focused on the bigger picture. Don’t get caught up in the emotion and drama that could sabotage your case down the line. Play it cool.