No one wants to think that they’ll ever get into a car accident, but it’s a possibility we have to be prepared for. Do you know what to do if you’re involved in anything from a fender-bender to a major collision? It’s important that you follow the law—which will help protect you.
Here’s a list of what you can do to protect yourself and ensure your accident doesn’t cause any more disruption to your life than it already has.
Check for injuries. Your first priority should be checking yourself and your passengers for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, don’t move them: hold still and wait for emergency services. Even minor injuries, such as dizziness, can be a sign of a more significant problem, so err on the side of getting medical attention.
Move to safety. If no one has any serious injuries, try to pull your car over to the side of the road. Use your emergency flashers to alert other drivers to the accident. If you have flares in your emergency car kit, this is a good time to use them.
Call for help. Call 911 or the local police department—in some states, it’s required by law. If the police are able to come to the scene, they’ll assist you in documenting the accident. However, if it’s a minor accident, you may be directed to go to the police station to fill out a report.
Exchange insurance information. When you’re exchanging information with the other driver or drivers involved, there are certain details you’ll want to make sure you get. Ask for their full name, contact information, insurance policy number, driver’s license and plate numbers, type, make, and model of the car involved and the location of the accident. It’s recommended that you avoid having discussions of fault, as that’s a determination for your insurance companies to make.
Document the scene. Once the police arrive, you should ask for their names and badge numbers, as well as how to obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurer will likely ask you for the police report when you file your claim. You can also include a number of helpful details, such as the names and contact information for other witnesses or passengers involved. Photographs and videos are also useful: try to take photos from multiple angles. Include photos of the cars, the damage involved as well as the surrounding area.
You are under no obligation to speak to an insurance company or to settle before you hire an attorney. If the insurance company pressures you to do so, you can be firm with your refusal. You should avoid making statements to anyone other than the police officer at the scene of the accident until you have legal representation.
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use this guide—but consider printing or taking a screenshot of the graphic below and stashing it in your glove box, along with a pen and paper. If an accident happens, you can avoid the possibility that you’ll miss an important detail.
Have you been involved in an accident? Do you need representation from a car accident lawyer? Contact Mark Artall, APLC for a consultation today.