Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience. Anyone who has walked away from one is likely never going to forget the incident. Unfortunately, vehicular accidents do happen more often than we are comfortable with. Most drivers do not know how to react in such a situation, though. Whether someone else has slammed into your vehicle, or perhaps you have rear-ended another car, you need to know what to do immediately after a car accident. Saying the wrong thing can easily lead to additional costs or responsibility. Here is what to do following a car accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Immediately following a car accident, there are some steps you should take:
- Check yourself for signs of injuries. First and foremost, check for signs of damage, pain, or bleeding.
- Check on any other passengers in the vehicle. Depending on the type of accident, passengers are as likely as the driver to be injured.
- Get off the road and to safety. If you can, move your vehicle from the driving lane to the side of the road.
- Call 911. When possible, call 911 for emergency services. You’ll want immediate medical attention for any injuries and police on scene for reports.
- Wait. Waiting for emergency services to arrive can be a long, arduous process. Be patient.
- Exchange information with the other driver with law enforcement present. You’ll want their insurance information and contact information when you file a claim.
- Take a moment to document the accident. If you have a smartphone, be sure to take a few photographs or videos of the damage.
- Call your insurance agency. You’ll need to file a claim for any property damages and medical bills incurred due to injuries. Otherwise, you must foot the bill in its entirety.
What Not to Do
Never, ever discuss fault with anyone involved in the accident. Any details regarding how you feel, such as injuries or pain, or what you were doing before the incident, should not be discussed with anyone. Even if you feel as if you were in the wrong, do not accept responsibility or indicate fault for the accident. The other driver, despite their friendly demeanor, may use this as a sign of guilt. Then, if that happens, you’ll be forced to pay for all the damages.
Furthermore, even for a minor car accident, do not suggest handling the situation without insurance. Collect their information and do not commit to handling things without any outside assistance. In most states, you are legally obligated to report a car accident.
Lastly, you likely don’t know the other driver or what type of insurance they have. The other individual may be dangerous, uninsured, or jumpy after an accident. Consider your safety, first and foremost.