Part of the responsibility of operating a car is knowing what you should do after a car accident happens. The actions that you take after an accident occurs can have a significant impact on your ability to file a claim for compensation if you have been injured.
What You Should Do Right After The Accident Happens
You are urged to follow these steps ONLY if your injuries allow you to complete any or all of the steps. If you are injured, remain in your vehicle. Your health and safety will always be your first concern.
If you are able, you should do the following after an accident happens:
- Move the vehicles off the road for safety. If you can get to the shoulder of the road, move your vehicles so that no other cars become involved in the event.
- If you cannot move the vehicles due to damage to the car or because of your injury, try to put your hazard lights on for safety
- Notify emergency services of the accident, especially if there are injuries. In some larger cities, if there are no injuries involved, the police may ask you to come down to file a report after you have left the scene of the accident or have had your car removed. If there are injuries, even minor, the police will send an officer to the scene
- If possible, take pictures of the scene or video footage. Make sure to include any pictures of the surrounding area so that you can get a good idea about weather, traffic, and other conditions that may have led to the accident.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver and gather any personal information from witnesses so that they can be contacted at a later time.
- You may want to contact your insurance company at the scene so that they can arrange for towing. This is not mandatory, however, because emergency services often call for tow truck service to help clear the road
- Go to the local emergency room, even if you believe that your injuries are minor, for an evaluation
Steps To Take After You Arrive Home
Once you arrive home from the accident, you will need to start gathering information. Even if the accident was only a fender-bender, and there are no injuries involved, making an insurance claim will require documentation. If you have been injured and are filing a personal injury claim, there will be even more documents that must be gathered.
Some of the information that you will need to obtain include:
- Official police report for the accident
- Estimates for repairs to your vehicle
- Documentation of all medical care you received that clearly indicate injuries
- Employment and income information to show how your finances were impacted by the accident and injuries
- A personal journal of how the injuries have impacted your life and the financial hardships that the accident has caused
Contact A Car Accident Attorney
It will always be beneficial to consult with a car accident attorney when you are making a claim for compensation. The insurance company will push for a quick settlement so that they can close the case. However, a quick settlement could mean that many of your medical costs and financial losses are not covered.
When you work with an attorney, all types of compensation that you are entitled to under the terms of your insurance policy will be reviewed. Your attorney will make sure that any settlement agreement is inclusive of all benefits and is fair to you to cover your losses.
Further reading: 5 Things You Shouldn’t Do After A Car Accident