Car accidents can happen unexpectedly, making it difficult to know what to do in the immediate aftermath.
There are several things you should do immediately following a car accident.
Ensure safety first
The safety of all involved is the top priority. If the vehicles are drivable and it is safe to do so, move them to the side of the road to prevent further accidents or obstructions. Turn on your hazard lights to make your presence known.
Check for injuries
Examine yourself and your passengers for injuries. Call 911 immediately for any injuries. Even seemingly minor injuries can worsen over time, so it is vital to seek medical attention. There are 2.1 million emergency room visits from car accidents per year, so this is not an uncommon occurrence.
Engage in a polite and cooperative conversation with the other party involved. Exchange essential information, including names, contact numbers, insurance details and license plate numbers. Document the accident by taking photos of the scene, vehicle damage and the surrounding area.
Report the accident
Call the police to report the accident. Regardless of the severity, having a police report can be helpful for insurance claims and legal matters. Be honest and provide a detailed account of what happened.
Speak to witnesses
If there are witnesses, talk to them and collect their contact information. They can be valuable in corroborating your version of events if needed.
Notify your insurance company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. They will guide you through the claims process and may provide instructions for repairing or replacing your vehicle.
Seek medical attention
Even if you do not feel injured immediately, seeing a doctor after an accident is a good idea. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, may not immediately manifest symptoms. Document all medical evaluations and keep records of any treatment.
Keep a detailed record
Maintain a comprehensive record of all the events and interactions related to the accident. This includes police reports, medical bills, repair estimates and correspondence with the insurance company. Organize this information for future reference.
Arrange for vehicle repairs
Once your insurance company approves your claim, arrange for the repair or replacement of your vehicle. Your insurance company can recommend approved repair shops if needed.
The moments following a car accident are critical. Knowing what to do ahead of time can help if you are involved in an accident.