You’re driving along, and then—boom. Whether it’s your fault or someone else’s, being involved in a car accident in any way is not a fun situation.
Panic can quickly set in, and it can be hard to make intelligent decisions and know what to do following an car accident or motor vehicle collision.
While, hopefully, you never find yourself in this unfortunate situation, traffic accidents are more common than you might think. The best way to protect yourself is to be prepared and know what steps to take at the accident scene.
If you can familiarise yourself with these essential steps, you’ll feel much more confident should you find yourself on the side of the road after a car crash.
1. Call the Police
As soon as you pull over to safety or are clear to get out of your car, go ahead and call the police or appropriate local authority to get your accident properly documented. If you have an injury or need insurance coverage for your car damage, you’ll need to be able to show proof of what happened.
2. Check for Safety and Tend to Injuries
Check for the safety of all parties involved. If injuries require immediate medical attention, call for emergency services. If you feel injured but aren’t sure to what degree, you can contact a personal injury attorney like Injury Law Palm Beach for further guidance. You may want to consider calling a personal injury attorney regardless, as injuries often don’t show until hours or a few days after a crash.
3. Document the Accident
Be sure to get the accident well documented in several ways. If you’re in an accident, it’s reasonable grounds for asking the other driver for their name, address, and motor vehicle registration number.
Next, see if there are any witnesses you can talk to that saw what happened and would be willing to make a statement. Exchange information with these witnesses as well.
You should also take photos of the scene, write down what happened to the best of your ability, and ask the attending officer to get a copy of the accident report for your records.
4. Call Your Insurer
At this point, you’ve already called a personal injury lawyer, so now you should contact your car insurer to let them know about the accident. They will help you begin the claims process, which can take a while. Starting earlier than later will ensure you get a rental car if needed and get the costs to fix the vehicle covered.
5. Call a Ride
If your car isn’t in good shape or unsafe to drive, you can arrange for a tow truck to take it off the scene. You should call someone you trust to come and pick you up and give you a ride back home in case there’s unseen damage to your car.
Car Crash Next Steps
Once you make it off the scene of the accident, there are still a few more things you’ll want to do before you put this all to bed. Be sure to see a doctor if you’re injured and keep in contact with your insurance company and attorney to protect your rights.