Getting in an accident is extremely daunting and can be scary regardless if it’s on the road, at work, or out and about in your personal life. A car accident, depending on the severity of the situation, might be hard to handle on your own. There are a million questions running through your mind of what the right next step is. The good news is, you don’t have to navigate it alone.
If you’ve been in a car accident, here are the first few things you’ll want to do to ensure safety and protection for yourself, the passengers, and your vehicle.
Check for the Safety of Others
First and foremost, make sure everyone in your vehicle is safe immediately after the car accident occurs. Ask each person to respond if they are okay or if they are injured. In some severe cases, if someone is injured to a point that permits them from moving, don’t try to move the person yourself unless the vehicle is in danger of further damage or fire. It’s important to let the medical emergency team do their job properly. If you don’t know what you are doing, it could injure the person even more.
Get Yourself to a Safe Location
Car accidents usually take place in locations that aren’t always safe to stand around and wait. Make sure you, your passengers, and the people in the other vehicles are out of the road and off to a safe location close to where the accident took place. Find a nearby plaza or park that provides a public space but is away from the road.
Call Local Authorities
Contact your local police or call 911 if the accident is serious enough. Sometimes if it’s a small fender bender in a parking lot, you may be able to handle the dispute with the other driver cordially. However, this isn’t always the case. If there is any doubt or fear around the accident, give them a call immediately to ensure that there is proper representation and documentation happening at the scene of the incident.
Move Your Vehicle Out of the Road If It’s Safe
It’s important to move your vehicle out of the road or busy intersection to make sure no further damage or traffic occurs. Only do this if it’s safe and the vehicle is driveable. If it’s not, local authorities can help to alleviate traffic.
There are instances where good samaritans stop to make sure others are okay or volunteer to direct traffic around and away from the accident. This isn’t always safe to do, so never ask someone for this position as it could make you liable if something happens to them.
Exchange Insurance Information
Don’t forget to retrieve the vehicle and insurance information of the other car involved. When swapping information, make sure to obtain the vehicle’s make, model, color, registration number, and license plate number.
You’ll also want to get the full name and correct contact information of the other driver along with their insurance information. This data is essential when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Take Photographs and Document Everything
Most insurance companies will need as much proof of the incident as possible. This goes beyond a police report; however, you’ll want to make sure you collect that information from the authorities at the scene as well. They’ll want photographs of both your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle, along with any damage to the surrounding area.
Take as many photos as you need. Make sure to take some up-close of the damage and further back of the entire scene. Write down when the car accident happened, where it occurred, and any other information you might find to be pertinent.
You’ll also want to ask for an accident report from the police offices who are at the scene. Your insurance company may request this when you go to file your claim. Feel free to talk to witnesses around the area as well. The more information you have to provide to your insurance company, the better.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once you’re done at the scene and you’re somewhere safe, you’ll want to notify your insurance company immediately. You don’t want to wait too long to file the claim. Each insurance company has a specific protocol of how they go about their process. Some companies you can call directly, while others have apps you can file through. This is when all of the information you documented and photographs you took during the incident will come into play.
Consult a Lawyer
It’s easy in the heat of an accident to start playing the blame game. Try your best not to point fingers or even to admit that the incident was your fault. According to DolmanLaw.com, many people assume they are not eligible to recover compensation simply because of the word from an insurance company representative. Determining fault is not always black and white with a clear depiction of who is responsible.
If the accident is severe enough, you’ll want to consult with a professional car accident attorney. They will be the ones to help you determine fault, along with helping you obtain any compensation for personal injury, loss, or damages.
Don’t try to figure this part out on your own. Hiring a lawyer could save you money on any medical or repair expenses, along with saving you from any trouble you might get into because of the accident.
To Wrap It Up
No matter how minimal or severe an accident might be, being in any type of collision is a scary incident that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Try to avoid pointing fingers and getting heated on the scene. Take deep breaths to handle the situation as calmly as possible.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter the circumstances of the car accident, you don’t have to go through it alone. There are professionals such as the police, paramedics, insurance agents, and attorneys who can all help you through the process of managing a car accident.