What to Do After a Car Accident: 5 Essential Steps to Take
Each year more and more vehicles are on the road. In fact, during the first quarter of 2018, there were over 272 million of them. The increase in drivers also increases the auto accident rates to the tune of 10 million a year.
Although most of them aren’t fatal, they’re still traumatic for those involved. Keep reading to find out what to do after a car accident has occurred.
What to Do After a Car Accident: Step-by-Step
We’ve put together this short guide on the steps you should take once involved in an auto accident. The trauma of an accident has a tendency to cloud a person’s judgment and cause panic. Follow these five steps to ensure that all your bases get covered.
Step 1: Remain at the Scene
You should never drive away from the scene of an accident. The most you should do is move your car out of harm’s way, if possible. Once that’s done, put your flashers on to warn oncoming traffic.
Step 2: Get Help
The next thing to do is call the police and an ambulance if needed. Keep in mind that pain from car accident injuries often shows up hours later. If you’re not sure if you’re hurt, say so rather than saying no.
Having a police report is essential to help decide who was at fault. Your insurance company will also need one to process any claims filed.
The other party involved may need medical help too. If you’re able, check on them as well.
Step 3: Exchange Information
It’s important to collect personal information from anyone else involved in the auto accident. Make sure it’s safe to get out of your car first. Then, politely ask for the following:
- The name, address, and phone number of the driver and passengers.
- The driver’s license number of the driver.
- The year, make, and model of the other vehicles involved. Write down the license plate number too.
- The name of the other parties insurance company and their policy number.
- The police officer’s name and badge number.
You’ll also want to record:
- Contact information for any eyewitnesses.
- The address or location where the accident happened.
- Digital images of the accident and vehicles involved, if able.
And finally, never admit or say that the accident was your fault; even if it was.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company
Get ahold of your insurance company as soon as possible. You can start the claim at the scene of the accident if it’s practical. If not, do it as soon as you can.
Most insurance companies have electronic filing options to make it easier. Choices include starting your insurance claim through an app, online, or by phone. The number to call to report an accident is on the back of your insurance card.
Some insurance companies allow you to upload photos of the accident right from within their app. Also, have your insurance card handy for reference when starting a claim. You’ll need to access your policy number.
After reporting a claim, your insurance company will arrange your car repair as fast as possible.
Step 5: Get Legal Counsel
If you’ve sustained injuries, contact a personal injury lawyer such as Guajardo and Marks for legal help or advice. They will decipher car accident law and guide you on the next steps to take. Examples of issues they can advise you on are:
- Getting full compensation for your vehicle.
- Medical care and treatments.
- How long it will take to settle a claim.
- Whether the settlement offered is fair.
Personal injury cases get paid on a contingency basis so no fees are required up front. They get paid when you receive a settlement from the insurance company.
What’s the Bottom Line?
No one wants to get into an accident of any kind. However, if you are, knowing what to do after a car accident is crucial. Why not print out the steps above and store them with your insurance card?
Have questions or helpful tips about dealing with auto accidents? Let us know in the comments.