So you’ve just been in a car accident -your hands are shaking, your heart is pounding, and you may not be able to think clearly.
Unfortunately, this scenario happens all too often. By the time you’ve finished reading this intro, at least one car accident has already occurred.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 5 to 6 million car accidents are reported each year in the US. That’s more than one car accident each minute.
Knowing what to do after a car accident is critical to ensuring both your physical and financial welfare.
Below I’ve outlined three steps you should take immediately after a car accident.
1. Assess the Car Accident
In the initial moment after a car accident, you should assess the situation. That includes the state of your physical well-being and surroundings.
Find out if you or any of your passengers have sustained injuries and need emergency medical attention. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately so they can send help soon as possible.
Before exiting your vehicle, perform a threat assessment. For example, are you on an icy road, highway, or another heavily trafficked area? If so, you could be in imminent danger of another car crash.
If there are any imposed threats, exit the vehicle immediately in the safest manner possible before proceeding to the next step.
2. Collect and Exchange Information
Once you’re out of the car, be sure to keep your phone with you.
Then, if it is safe to do so, take as many pictures of the car accident aftermath as possible. Be sure to capture photos from various angles of the damage done to the vehicles involved.
You can even draw a diagram of the scene if you have the means available. Take photos of road signs, traffic markings, and anything else that may later assist the insurance company or law enforcement in handling the case.
When exchanging information with the other party involved, be sure only to share that which is necessary. That includes your license, registration, and insurance number.
In the car crash aftermath, your emotions may be high. Be friendly, but don’t share details about the accident that the other driver could wrongly use against you later.
If it is possible to do so, move the cars out of the way to ensure you’re not impeding traffic or potentially creating an accident hazard. Of course, only do this if it is safe.
3. Make the Appropriate Calls
You’ll want to report the accident to your insurance company right away as they’re there to help.
Do not speak with any insurance company other than your own, even if the other party’s insurance company tries to call you. Insurance agents are trained to seek out information that they can use to win the case.
Whether you believe you are at fault or not, contact an experienced attorney that handles personal injury cases. They can help guide you through the process ahead.
If it’s a serious accident or you’ve sustained an injury, it’s best to check it out. Having a professional on your side can benefit you, no matter the case.
Head Down the Road to Reparation
The moments after a car accident can be hectic and confusing. However, following the three steps listed above is key to dealing with any accident as safely and efficiently as possible.
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