If you’re out driving on the road, then you should have a plan in place for what to do after a car accident. No one plans to get in a car accident, but you never know when it might happen to you. Although it’s the last thing any driver wants, you can’t always control those around you and you must plan for the worst.
When you have a plan, you’ll then know exactly what to do if involved in an auto accident. This can help reduce stress, confusion, and panic in an unexpected situation. Do you have a car accident aftermath plan in place?
If not, then you’ll want to continue reading below. When preventing auto accidents isn’t possible, the next step is to follow each step listed in our guide. Here’s everything you need to know!
Take a Deep Breath and Try to Stay Calm
Directly after being involved in a car accident, you might not know what hit you. Sometimes, these things happen so fast that you never saw them coming. One minute you’re driving safely on the road and the next minute you’re opening your eyes to a blown-out airbag and a car filled with dust particles.
What just happened?
Your mind is racing and you’re not sure where you’re at or what to do. Take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Once you get your breathing under control, take a look around.
You’ve been involved in a car accident, but you’re still here and breathing. Staying calm in these types of situations isn’t simple, but if you can do your best to remain calm, it’ll be for the best.
Pull Over to a Safe Place If Possible
The next thing you want to do is pull your vehicle over to a safe place. This might not always be possible depending on where the accident took place and the type of damages done to your vehicle. If your vehicle is still able to drive and you’re able to find a safe place, however, then do so.
Keeping your vehicle stranded in the middle of a busy road is not safe. Doing so raises your chances of being involved in other types of car accidents. Pull your vehicle onto a side street, off the nearest exit on the highway, or onto a shoulder.
If needed, then you can let the other driver know what you’re doing so they can follow and won’t suspect you’re fleeing the scene.
Check Yourself and Passengers For Injuries
Once you’re safe, you can then stop and check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Keep in mind that car accidents can cause your adrenaline to increase. Because of this, you may have injuries that you don’t notice or feel.
This is why it’s important to check yourself carefully. Look for swelling, bleeding, and painful areas when gently touched. If you do have passengers in the vehicle, then consider checking each other for injuries that you might not see yourself.
Any injuries should be reported to the medics that arrive on the scene. They’ll be able to check it out and provide immediate attention to them if needed.
Contact Local Law Enforcement
Most times, paramedics will arrive on the scene before you’re ever able to think about calling it in. Ambulances and fire trucks arrive quickly to car accident scenes because other drivers and witnesses will oftentimes call it in. However, if no one has arrived on the scene yet, then you need to contact your local law enforcement.
Have local law enforcement come out to file a report. It’s standard procedure for them to send paramedics to the scene with them. Once law enforcement arrives, they’ll then take statements from both you and any other drivers involved in the crash.
Everyone should then receive their own copy of the report. Don’t lose this documentation as it’s a crucial piece of evidence. You’ll most likely want to give this report to your insurance company when filing a claim.
If there are any major injuries that need immediate attention, then the paramedics will take that person to the hospital.
Inspect All Vehicles For Damages
Before you leave the scene, there are a few more things you need to do. For starters, make sure to inspect all vehicles for damages. This is true even if you have a police report.
Take photos of all damages done to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. This type of documentation comes in handy when filing a claim with your insurance company. If the other driver tries to provide false information about the damages done to their vehicle or yours, then you’ll have photos to prove it.
You should be able to easily upload your photos to your account online that you have with your insurance company.
Exchange Information With Other Drivers
After you snap some pictures of the damages, you should then exchange information with the other driver. You want to get their name and the name of their insurance company as well. Ask for the vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) also, so you can provide all of this information to your own insurance company.
Your insurance company will need to contact the other driver’s insurance company to dispute the damages and who’s at fault. A great way to get all of this information quickly is to take a picture of their car insurance card and allow them to snap a picture of yours. All of the information you need should be listed there.
If the other driver gives you a difficult time exchanging information, then don’t panic. Their information should be listed on the police report too.
Get Contact Information From Witnesses
Were there any witnesses at the scene? Sometimes, other drivers will stop to make sure everyone is okay. There might also be pedestrians or other witnesses as well.
If anyone did stop at the scene, then you want to be sure to get their contact information. Their statement could come in handy when trying to settle a claim. You can briefly write down their name and phone number if needed in the future.
File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
Now is the time to contact your insurance company and file the claim. You don’t have to do this at the scene. You can wait until you’re safely at home and have calmed down to call.
When you file a claim with your insurance company, they’ll want to know about all of that important information you collected. First, they’ll take your statement on what happened. Then, be sure to let them know you have a police report, photos, contact information for the other driver, and witness contact information also.
They’ll then give you instructions on how to submit all of this information to them.
Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer
Some car accidents have a simple solution, but when there’s major damage to your vehicle and even minor injuries, you deserve the right amount of compensation. Trying to get the compensation you deserve on your own can be a tricky situation. This is where a personal injury lawyer comes into play.
A lawyer will be able to get you the compensation you deserve while you can place your focus on getting better. They’ll tell you exactly what documents are needed and all of the do’s and don’ts while waiting for the case to come to a close. Make sure to follow all of the legal advice given to you by your lawyer to ensure the case goes in your favor.
Have Your Vehicle Repaired/Collect Money From Insurance
Depending on who’s at fault, you can have your vehicle repaired under the other driver’s insurance company. Your insurance company will let you know where you can take the vehicle to get repaired and what steps to follow. If your vehicle was ruled a total loss, then the insurance company will write you a check for how much the vehicle is worth.
An appraiser will come out to assess the vehicle’s worth. You can then pick up your check from your insurance company. This is your money to do what you please with, whether that be paying off a remaining balance on the vehicle or using the check to buy a new vehicle.
Do You Know What to Do After a Car Accident?
If you were involved in a car accident right now, would you know what to do? Do you have a full plan in place for what to do after a car accident? If not, then be sure to use all of the information provided in this guide above.
Print this guide out and keep it handy to refer back to when needed. When you take each of these steps listed in our guide, you can be sure to have the least stressful experience possible. You can find more topics similar to this one when you check back here on a daily basis!