In an ideal world, you’ll never have to worry about being involved in a car accident. However, it’s important to understand that accidents can happen for a number of reasons. It’s entirely possible to be involved in an accident one day even if you practice safe driving habits.
Because of this, all motorists need to understand the steps they should take in the immediate aftermath of an accident. They include the following:
1. Move to a Safe Location
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries right away when an accident occurs. Once you confirm that you and everyone else in your vehicle are safe, move to a safe location away from traffic. Only operate your vehicle if you are thoroughly certain it is safe to do so.
2. Check on Others
It can be very tempting to react angrily when you believe someone else caused an accident you were involved in. Resist this temptation! What’s best right now is to remain calm and confirm that others involved in the accident are unharmed.
3. Call the Police
Most states require you to report a car accident if it meets certain criteria. Even if an accident doesn’t seem particularly severe, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call the police immediately after being involved in one.
Be aware that you may have a right to seek compensation for your medical bills and related losses after an accident by filing a claim to collect from an insurance company. Whether you file a claim to collect from the insurance of the party who caused your accident or from your own insurance will depend on whether you live in an at-fault state or a no-fault state.
Regardless, you’ll generally have a better chance of recovering any compensation you may be owed if you file a report. You can also optimize your chances of recovering compensation by enlisting the help of a personal injury attorney who handles car accident cases.
4. Share Information
When you call the police to report your accident, a dispatcher will send an officer to investigate and document the scene. As you await their arrival, exchange contact information and insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident.
Remember to remain calm when doing so. Don’t make the mistake of saying anything that can be interpreted as admitting you caused the accident.
Next, get the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Take pictures of the scene and your injuries as well.
5. Cooperate With the Police
Answer the police officer’s questions thoroughly and honestly when they arrive at the scene. Again, control your emotions during this process. Remain on the scene until the officer investigating it gives you permission to leave.
6. See a Doctor
It’s essential that you see a doctor right away after being involved in an accident. This is important even when you don’t believe you’ve been injured. You may have injuries you haven’t noticed yet. Seeing a doctor right after your accident is another way to improve your chances of recovering compensation.
Finally, report the accident to your insurer. Don’t say anything to indicate you caused it. Instead, schedule a free consultation with an attorney to review your legal options.