No matter how careful you are on the road, sometimes, accidents are bound to occur. While there is no exact way to prevent these from happening, the least you can do is to equip yourself with knowledge on how to take action after the accident has happened.
It’s easy to panic and be lost in the event that you get into a car accident, but trust us when we say that knowing what to do can save you from more unforeseen events down the line.
We’ve gathered insight from some experts in the industry for advice on the steps to take after a car accident:
Check Yourself First
Candance Helton, the Operations Director at Ringspo advises that If you can, see if you have injuries, and wait for help if so. Call 911 or ask somebody to do so, and know which parts of your body were injured to be aided immediately. If you have some people with you, check on them too, and ask them if they are severely hurt, so you know who must be prioritized.
Call the Authorities
In addition to this, Jake McKenzie, Content Manager at Auto Accessories Garage says that It’s always a good idea to call the police and file an official report. No matter how friendly the other driver is and whether they’re at fault or not, you never know when they might take you to court with bogus claims or fight with insurance about who has to pay.
Technically, you don’t need to report an accident to the police unless there is an injury or the damages appear to be over $1,000. But, even for a minor fender bender it’s a good idea to get it on record that no drivers are reporting an injury and that the damages appear to be under $1,000. It also puts the other party’s identity on the record.
There will be no chance of them giving you a false name and number, nor a possibility of them slipping away, never to be heard from again.
Document the Accident
Documenting your accident is crucial whether you are at fault or not, says Jordan Peagler, Owner and Partner at MKP Law Group. Peagler recommends that you collect witness contact details, video or photographs of the accident before vehicles are moved, and any other associated and relevant information around the incident.
It can be difficult to remember to do this in the frenzy following an accident, so a shortlist of important things to collect include:
- Other driver’s contact details and insurance information
- The make and model of the other vehicle
- All information of law enforcement at the scene
- Any witness contact information
- And, (very important) your own videos and photos of the accident
Building on this point, Stephen K. Brooks, Attorney and Managing Partner at Brooks Law Group also adds that at the scene of an accident, your camera is your best friend. Move your cars to a safe place, call the police, and start taking pictures of everything: the cars, the damage, their positions. But don’t forget to take pictures of the roadway too.
What you think is just a picture of skid marks on the road can make a huge difference if you end up filing a legal claim-or if the other driver files one against you. You should also snap a photo of the other car’s license plate in case they leave the scene before police arrive.
On that note, it’s important that everyone involved waits for the police to show up. They will help you exchange all the proper information to use with your insurance or legal claims. Stay calm and level-headed so that the facts of the accident can be recorded accurately. And above all, never admit fault. Even apologizing for the crash is enough for the insurance companies to stick you with the bill. By not admitting fault, you give yourself a fighting chance against the insurance company.
Seek Medical Treatment if Needed
Other important steps include seeking prompt medical treatment for any injuries and following your doctors’ treatment plans. Josh Rohrscheib of Josh Rohrscheib, Attorneys at Law adds that you should keep track of all your medical treatments so you can document your medical expenses and providers. Similarly, it is important to track your economic losses from the accident: wage loss, expenses for services like pet care or household services that you would have done yourself but can’t, etc. It is also helpful to take photos of your injuries to document the extent and duration of your injuries and to keep a journal about how the incident impacted your life.
Contact a Lawyer
Consider calling a lawyer to discuss your options, instructs Andrew S. Kryder, Attorney at The Kryder Law Group. Many lawyers will provide a free consultation regarding your rights and responsibilities under the law. A lawyer familiar with car accidents can provide much needed guidance and reduce the stress associated with an accident. A lawyer can help recover benefits, arrange for a rental car and ensure the insurance company is treating you fairly.
When it comes to a car accident, you can never be too prepared. Knowing exactly what to do if you are in an accident shields you with a powerful armor against bogus claims, skyrocketing bills, and other causes for alarm. Stay vigilant and informed, and you might save yourself from even more trouble beyond the accident.