Around six million car accidents occur in the United States every year. These range from minor fender benders to fatal accidents, and an average of three million people who suffer injuries.
Do you know what to do after a car accident? Crashes are scary and overwhelming and it can be difficult to follow the correct processes when you’ve been involved in one. It’s vital that you take certain steps to keep yourself safe and ensure that you receive just compensation and insurance payouts.
Keep reading for a guide to seven crucial steps to take after a car accident so that you’re prepared if the worst should happen.
Don’t Leave the Scene of the Accident
The most important thing is to never flee the scene of the accident as you could be charged with a hit and run.
Remain at the scene, exit your vehicle if possible and get yourself in a safe place out of the way of traffic. If possible, move your vehicle off the road and out of the way as you don’t want to risk causing another accident when your car is in the way of oncoming traffic.
Turn your hazard lights on to warn other vehicles of the accident.
Check Yourself and Others For Injuries
After a car accident, your adrenaline will be pumping and it may not feel as if you’re hurt or injured in any way as the shock will dull any pain. It’s important to take a moment to assess yourself for any injuries.
If you are not seriously injured it is your duty to check on the wellbeing of other parties involved. It is also the responsibility of others involved to check on you if they are capable.
The most important thing is to ensure that everyone is safe and out of harm’s way before taking the next actionable steps.
Call Emergency Services and Law Enforcement
Call 911 immediately if anyone is hurt. Even if it seems like injuries are minor, emergency medical services should be on the scene to ensure that everyone is okay and to treat possible internal injuries, too.
After calling medical services, you need to call local law enforcement. Don’t be persuaded by others to avoid calling the police. You need an officer to file an incident report or an accident report which will be important when filing an insurance claim.
Police may not come if it’s a minor fender bender, but you should call nonetheless.
Document the Accident
Regardless of whether police come to investigate the scene or not, you should take steps to document the accident too. If you have a working cellphone, take plenty of pictures of the entire scene and all vehicles involved, from different angles.
Write down anything you remember about the accident. Your memory will become hazy over the following days and weeks and you’ll need to provide a clear description of the accident to your insurance company as well as a car accident attorney.
If there are any witnesses, talk to them as write down information that they recall as well as their contact details.
Exchange Information With Others Involved
You should never leave the scene of the accident without exchanging information with all other parties involved. You need to get their contact details as well as their insurance information.
It’s recommended that you exchange full name and contact number, insurance company and policy number, and driver’s license and license plate number.
Avoid assigning blame or fault in these conversations with other drivers and parties involved. Assigning fault will be up to the adjuster who reviews your claim. This is when your documentation of the accident will come in handy.
Contact Your Insurance
The sooner the insurance company knows about the accident, the better — even if it’s just a minor bumper bash. Your insurance company should be contacted within a day. The last thing you want is for them to hear it from the other parties involved before hearing it from you.
If you’re not injured, you may want to contact your insurance company when you’re at the scene. That way you can tell them exactly what happened while your memory is fresh and you can start the car accident claim process straight away.
Contact a Car Accident Injury Lawyer
Last, but certainly not least, you should seek the counsel of a skilled car accident lawyer. Seeking out an attorney as soon as possible will ensure that the correct procedures are followed out from the beginning.
If you suffered a car accident injury, especially at the fault of a negligent driver, you are legally entitled to compensation. A personal injury lawyer will ensure that you receive just compensation for tangible and non-tangible damages.
Again, the visual and written documentation that you secured of the accident scene will come in handy when the car accident attorney builds a case on your behalf.
Always Follow These Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you’re involved in a crash, whether it is minor or severe, always try to remember these steps to take after a car accident. Following the correct procedures will ensure that you don’t find yourself with a hit-and-run charge or hefty insurance costs.
Remember, the most important thing is to ensure that you and everyone else at the scene are safe and out of harm’s way before taking the next steps.
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