What You Should Do After a Car Accident
Below we have outlined a few steps on what to do after you are involved in a car crash. We have written on this subject before at Ty Wilson Law, and have even created an injury journal workbook that allows you to document all of the details of a car accident the moment it happens; a critical step during any auto accident. However, it’s always good to be reminded of good practices and to hear from the auto associations themselves. This information was found on USAA’s website.
When you’re involved in a car wreck it may be difficult to keep your composure, but making sure that you know how to handle such an event beforehand can truly help ease your stress and allow you to approach the situation with a clearer mind. In the event of an accident, your reaction is what can keep a situation from going from bad to worse. Here are some tips from USAA to help protect yourself, get back on the road quickly, and make your crash a thing of the past.
- Get to a Safe Location and Get Help: Reacting quickly following an accident could be the difference between life and death for you and everyone in your vehicle as well as other drivers on the road.
- Call 911 as soon as possible if someone needs immediate medical attention. Ask someone to call for you if you don’t have a phone or can’t locate it after the wreck.
- Carefully move your vehicle out of traffic to the shoulder of the road or parking lot if it is drivable. Blocking traffic could cause additional wrecks.
- If your car or debris from the wreck is blocking the roadway, call the police so it can be cleared. Know the rules in your state since some local laws require that you notify the police of any accident.
- Collect Necessary Information: After any emergencies have been addressed and you are safely away from danger, begin to record information from the scene of the accident either with your phone, camera, or pen and paper. Details of the accident could be important when it comes time to process your auto insurance claim or in determining fault should legal action be pursued.
- ALWAYS obtain a copy of the police report or at least make sure you receive the report number.
- Don’t admit fault even though you may think you caused the accident. Now is not the proper time to apologize because what you say could be used against you at a later point in time, even if other circumstances arise that show you were not fully to blame.
- Exchange information with the other drivers involved in the wreck. This would include insurance company names and phone numbers and member/policy numbers.
- Record the names of drivers involved, the number of passengers in each vehicle, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and other vehicles’ year, make, and model. Be sure to share the same information about yourself as well, but do not disclose details about your auto insurance policy, such as coverage limits or lien holders.
- Ask for contact information from others involved in the accident, such as passengers or pedestrians, and any other witnesses who may be able to verify how the crash occurred.
- Be sure to take photos or video of the scene of the accident and the vehicles involved as long as it doesn’t pose a safety hazard or interfere with authorities who are on the scene.
Car accidents can cause serious injuries or death. If you are in an accident, be sure to know how to react so that you can prevent a lot of unnecessary stress or financial losses in the future. It’s also important to be prepared for a wreck by keeping certain things in your glovebox like a list of emergency contact numbers, a list of critical medical information in case you cannot communicate after the accident, a camera and pen and paper to take notes, and proof of auto insurance. And remember, reacting as quickly as possible after a wreck can mean the difference between life and death.
Be informed. Be aware. Be prepared.