There are few things that can interrupt your life quite like a car accident. You have a plan for the rest of your day and a list of things you need to get done and people you need to see. Then, in just one moment, all of those plans can be thrown out the window.
Even if you and everyone involved are physically all right, the impact of a car accident can be traumatic. The most important thing to do right after an accident is to take a deep breath and get to safety. If your car is still in the road, potentially creating a hazard for other vehicles, get you and your car out of the way.
If you’re in shock, you might not be fully aware of the pain and injuries you’ve received. You should examine yourself for injuries and make sure anyone else in your vehicle is also OK. Once you’ve checked in on everyone and resolved any emergencies, you can call 911. You’ll need to report the accident to the police, and it may be important for you and others to be physically examined by a paramedic on the scene.
Connecting with the Other Driver.
The next step will be to check in with the other vehicle’s driver and passengers to make sure they’re fine. Then you need to exchange information with the other driver. This is an absolutely essential thing to do, whether it was a small accident with no obvious injuries or a lethal, multi-vehicle accident.
You need to get all the information you can on the other driver, their insurance, and their vehicle to make sure you’re prepared for dealing with insurance afterward. Even if you feel fine and you can’t see any damage to your car, you’ll never know for sure what the effects of the accident have been until later. Here’s some of the car accident information you need to ask for:
- Driver’s name
- Contact information
- Make, model and color of the other car
- License plate number
- Insurance company name and phone number
- Insurance policy number and expiration date
Documenting the Accident.
Even if the other driver isn’t so friendly as to give you all of this information, you can still record enough adequate driver info so you have the ability to follow up later if necessary. If you run into problems with insurance or you find yourself needing more money to help with medical bills later, you want to still have all your options on the table.
While you’re still on the scene, record all the information you can about the accident itself as well. Take pictures of both of the cars and the damage they’ve sustained. Write down the exact details as you remember them of what happened and precisely where the accident occurred.
The goal after an accident is to take care of yourself and plan for the future. You don’t want to leave the scene of the accident until you have all the information you might need for disputing the claim or protecting yourself in the future. Be thorough and don’t be afraid of seeking a car accident lawyer to help you if things get overwhelming. It’s worth putting in a little bit of effort to keep you and your family physically and financially well when the unexpected happens.