So, you’ve been in a car accident. You’re probably shocked, confused, and frightened. But this is no time to lose your cool. You want to be sure that you get adequate compensation from the other driver while minimizing your own liability. They or their insurance company will try to blame you, so the time to start preserving your claim is directly after the accident occurred, if you are able. In this article, we’ll discuss several steps to take after a car accident.
Step One: Get Your Car Off the Road
If your car isn’t completely totaled, then you want to get it out of harm’s way as quickly as possible. This is both a courtesy to other motorists and a safety measure. You should not leave the vehicle until it is safe to do so. If you are injured remain in the vehicle and put your hazards on.
Step Two: Check for Injuries
If either you or any of your passengers are injured, you’ll want to call 911 immediately and have them send an ambulance to your location. After you’ve checked yourself and your passengers, find the other vehicle involved in the crash and make sure that they’re okay too. You’ll want to limit your conversation to their injuries, however. You don’t want to negatively impact your claim against their insurance policy.
Step Three: Exchange Insurance Information
They’re probably going to want to say something to you concerning the accident. Do not engage with them other than to find out if they’re okay and to exchange insurance information. There is no reason to discuss the merits of their case with them or to admit fault at the scene of the accident. Anything you say will be used to bolster their case and harm yours.
You will need:
- Their name,
- Insurance information,
- Driver’s license information,
- And license plate number.
Step Three: Document the Scene of the Accident
If you have a functioning smartphone that can take pictures, you’ll want to have it handy. There is a lot of information that can be gleaned from a fresh scene of an accident. Accident reconstruction specialists can use video and images taken from the scene to reconstruct the accident. The placement of debris and the damage done to both cars is also incredibly helpful. You’ll also want to take pictures of witnesses who may have seen the accident and the surrounding roadway.
Step Four: Get a Police Report
The police report can be useful to have, but it’s not always correct. Remember, the job of police officers and first responders to an accident is to make sure that everyone is okay, clear the wreckage to allow the normal flow of traffic, and lastly, talk to witnesses to find out what happened. The police report may say that you were responsible for the accident, but this won’t always be the case. Your attorney can help protect your claim.
Step Five: Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Most insurance companies now offer the option of towing your car to a nearby mechanic, so you can call them at the scene. If you were able to drive your vehicle away from the crash, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company simply by giving them a call.
Step Six: Find an Attorney
If the damage to your vehicle is extensive or you’ve suffered serious injuries in the crash, then an attorney can help preserve the integrity of your claim against the other driver. Brylak Law has helped many individuals who have been in car accidents recover damages for their injuries and property damage. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.