Not knowing the proper steps to take after getting into an accident can make dealing with it that much more challenging. Read on to learn the 10 steps you must take following a car crash so that you are prepared if such an event should ever occur.
#1 - Remain at the scene of the crash.
While it may seem like common sense, don’t leave immediately after getting into a car accident. You may face serious consequences for doing so. Be sure to remain at the scene of the crash until you are clear to leave.
#2 - Keep the scene as safe as you can.
It’s a good idea to turn on your hazard lights to make other road users aware of the crash. If you have them with you, setting up flares can also be helpful to prevent further accidents from occurring.
#3 - Contact the authorities.
Even if you and the others involved in the crash do not sustain severe injuries, it is still always a good idea to call the police so they can come and make a report about the accident. Having this documentation is often very helpful for a property damage or personal injury claim.
#4 - Provide a correct account of the events to the police.
When the police arrive at the scene, be sure to explain the events of the crash to the best of your ability. Never attempt to speculate or make assumptions about any of the details you are unsure about. If you are asked questions you don’t know the answers to, be honest about that.
If you are asked whether you have sustained any injuries, keep in mind that the pain of injuries sustained may be delayed for hours, days, or even a week after getting into a crash. Even if you don’t immediately feel pain after an accident, that doesn’t mean you are completely uninjured. If you are unsure whether you’ve sustained physical injuries, say that rather than saying no.
Before the police leave the scene, be sure to obtain the police report number so that you can access the document when it becomes available.
#5 - Take photographs of the elements of the accident.
If possible, use your phone to take photos of the vehicles involved in the crash as they are positioned immediately after the collision. Try to take close-ups of the damage to the vehicles if you can. If you’ve sustained any visible physical injuries, take photos of them too.
Sometimes it is not possible to take pictures immediately after a crash. If this is the case, return to the scene and take photos of the relevant details as soon as you can after the collision.
#6 - Trade identifying information.
The authorities who investigate the accident should get this information from all parties involved. However, this is not always the case. Be sure to collect the following information from the other driver(s) and passenger(s) involved in the collision, as well as anyone who witnessed the crash:
- Phone numbers
Additionally, it is wise to take pictures of the following information from the driver(s) involved in the crash:
- Driver’s license (front and back)
- Auto insurance card (front and back)
#7 - Seek Medical Care
Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, if it is possible you’ve sustained an injury in the crash, be sure to seek medical care right away. The pain of your injuries may take some time to materialize, but a medical professional will be able to tell you whether you’ve been severely hurt right away.
#8 - Contact your insurance company.
At some point, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company. Keep in mind that you do not have to do so over the phone. When providing your accident statement to the insurance company, it is in your best interest not to do so over the phone as these conversations are always recorded.
Instead, you may provide your accident statement in writing or your attorney may do it for you. Either of these options is preferred over a phone statement because you have a better chance of collecting your thoughts and providing the insurance company with the most accurate information possible.
#9 - Keep an organized file.
The importance of maintaining an organized file for your accident documents cannot be overstated. Keeping everything together will be significantly beneficial to your claim. Be sure to keep the following information handy in your file:
- Insurance claim number.
- The claim’s adjuster handling your case.
- Names and contact information of all relevant parties.
- Receipts for a rental car and other costs incurred due to the crash.
#10 - Seek skilled legal representation.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side after an injury-sustaining car accident is perhaps one of the best things you can do for your case. If this has happened to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our skilled team right away.
We have helped many others in similar situations and we are prepared to do the same for you. Don’t delay—reach out to us right away with any questions you may have.