What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
When you get in a car accident, you may be in shock and feel as though you’re moving in slow motion. You may have been hurt, you may be confused about what happened and you may be concerned about your passengers.
While it’s natural to feel this way, you need to clear your head in order to ensure you do all the things that need to be addressed after a car accident. Take a few deep breaths and then run down this list to protect yourself.
1. Do Not Leave the Scene
Even in the case of a minor accident, you should not flee the scene. Stop even if your car does not appear to have sustained damage. Turn on your flashers to alert other vehicles that you won’t be moving. If you have flares, you can set those up around the scene.
2. Report the Accident to the Police
Again, even if you are in a minor accident, you should call the local police to inform them. Your insurance company may require a police report to file a claim. Leave the cars in place unless you are causing a huge traffic jam. Then, move them as little as possible for people to get past.
3. Talk to the Police When They Arrive
You should be completely honest about what happened. If you aren’t sure, then tell the police this. You want the official record to reflect the truth of what occurred. If the police ask if you are injured, you should say you are not sure. While you may feel uninjured, you may also be riding on the adrenaline of the moment. When that wears off, you may feel pain and discomfort caused by the accident.
4. Snap Photos of Your Car
Capture any damage done to the car as well as the injuries you have sustained. Stay out of the way of the police while you do this, though.
5. Exchange Information With the Other Driver(s)
When the police come to the scene of an accident, they will facilitate this process. However, in a case where they do not make an appearance, you will need to initiate this exchange yourself. Make sure to get this information from the other driver(s):
- Full name
- Telephone number and address
- Insurance policy information
6. Call Your Insurance Company
Tell them about the accident, including all the details you can remember. Do not put this off even if you have to call them from the hospital. Many policies require reporting nearly immediately after an accident.
7. Get Medical Assistance
Head to the hospital for a quick exam no matter what. It doesn’t hurt to be careful and they could uncover something serious, such as internal bleeding or whiplash. When you get home from the hospital, start a file with information such as the case number. You can put all your documents in here, including medical bills, and refer back to it when needed.
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