Few things in life are quite as traumatic as being involved in a serious car accident. One minute you are driving along, jamming to some music; the next you feel your body reeling from the impact of a collision with another vehicle.
After an accident, you will find yourself overwhelmed with fear and have little reasoning power.
That’s why it’s important for everyone to know and memorize what steps to take following a car accident before disaster truly strikes. We’ve put together a list of six simple steps to keep in mind in case you are ever involved in a collision:
- Focus on Your Well-being
Before you start making accusations or trying to decide who was at fault, put all your energy into maintaining the greatest sense of well-being for both yourself and any passengers in your vehicle. Sometimes an accident can result in even more collisions if your vehicle is still in the road.
You should also try to move your car to the side of the road and turn on your headlights so that traffic will take notice. Talk to the other passengers in your vehicle to make sure that they are alert and stable. Don’t try to remove anyone from the vehicle if they are injured. It’s best for everyone to remain in the vehicle unless you believe it is dangerous to stay seated.
- Call 9-1-1
After you have assessed your situation and taken measures to prevent more accidents, call emergency services and tell them what has happened. Let them know about any injuries you may have sustained so that they can send an ambulance if necessary.
- Collect Evidence from the Scene
If you’re not injured, use this opportunity to collect evidence of what happened. Take advantage of the camera on your phone and use it to take pictures of your vehicle from several different angles, different views of the other car, and the surroundings. If you are unable to get out and take pictures, try to find someone else who will do it for you.
Often, people witness an accident take place. If someone saw your collision, talk to them and get their take on the entire situation. Write down any details that the witness gives you. While information is still fresh in your own memory, write down anything you remember about the accident along with any details from your passengers.
- Exchange Insurance Information
Once you see that the other driver is not injured, exchange insurance information along with names and car details. While the police will probably get most of this information for their report, it’s still a good idea to have it on hand for your own use.
While it’s important to be kind and courteous following an accident, be prepared for the other driver to try to place the blame on you. Don’t fall into this trap and don’t say anything that will incriminate you or make it appear that you were at fault.
- Talk to Your Insurance Agent
As soon as possible, contact your insurance agent and let them know that you were in an accident. Fill them in on any details and work to answer any questions they may have. Use all of the information you gathered to let them know the entire story behind the collision.
- Consider an Attorney
In some cases, the insurance company may be unwilling to provide you with the compensation that you need following an accident. It’s always wise to be prepared for a battle, especially if you have suffered significant loss such as a totaled vehicle, injuries, loss of wages, and medical bills. Research car accident lawyers ahead of time and choose one who will help fight for your rights and get you the money you need to recover.
Automobile accidents are scary and life-changing events. Be prepared for one by understanding the six steps listed above. Don’t be taken advantage of during your moment of weakness; rather always be ready for the unexpected.