[dc]'W[/dc]hat should I do after a car accident?' It's natural to be asking this after being in a collision. Click here to learn the next steps to take after a crash.
Distracted driving is currently the leading cause of all car collisions, and between 20 to 50 million people end up with injuries from accidents each year.
Anytime you drive, you take the risk of becoming one of these statistics.
If you ever encounter a car collision, do you ever wonder, "what should I do after a car accident?" This question is one that many people have, and it's essential to know the answer before you get in a car accident.
Here is a guide to help you know what you should do if you are in a car accident, and here are the top 12 things you should do.
- Contact the Police
One of the first things you should do after an accident - big or small - is to call the local police. You can dial 911 to reach the local police, and the dispatcher will send an officer to the accident scene.
Contacting the police is necessary for several reasons:
- It documents the accident and proves it took place
- It provides a neutral third-party to assist with the accident
- It offers a way to get medical help faster if needed
- It helps you determine what to do with your car afterward
You should never ignore this step, even if the accident appears minor. You must call the police to have a written record of the collision and the facts related to it.
- Move to a Safe Place
It is also essential to make sure you move to a safe place after the collision.
It is also essential to make sure you move to a safe place after the collision.
Remaining in your car might not be the safest option you have, especially if your vehicle is still on the road. If you stay in your car, another car could end up colliding with you.
Therefore, if possible, get out of your car and move somewhere safe. Standing a few feet off the road might be a wise choice. It's just essential to make sure you are out of danger, no matter where you stand after the accident.
- Avoid Conversation With the Other Driver
While it might be tempting for you to strike a conversation with the other driver or passengers, it's better not to. If you talk to the other party involved in the collision, you might inadvertently say things you will regret.
For example, if you say, "I'm so sorry," the other party might assume this expression is an admittance of guilt. You may want to say something like this to be kind, but you shouldn't as the other party can use it against you in the case.
- Don't Move the Vehicle
You might also be tempted to move your car out of the way after the collision takes place, but this, too, is not a smart move. If you move your car, you will destroy evidence.
Moving your car, even a few feet, can change the accident scene and may cause problems in the investigation. The police and investigators need to see the accident scene precisely as it is.
After they document the accident scene, they will take care of moving the vehicle for you. You shouldn't worry about your car at this point; the police will handle it from this point.
- Fill Out a Police Report
When the police arrive and begin working on the scene, they will eventually want to speak to you about the event. The police will ask you questions, including information about yourself, and they will use it to fill out a police report.
They will need to see your driver's license and insurance information. They will write down the facts that you tell them about the event, and all this information will end up on the police report.
You can obtain a copy of the report a few days after the accident. You may have to pay a few dollars for it, but you will need it. Your insurance company will need to see it, as will the other party's insurance company.
If you end up in a lawsuit for the accident, your car accident lawyer will also need it. This report will be a significant part of the evidence required to settle your case.
- Take Valuable Possessions From Your Vehicle
One thing you might not think about doing is taking valuable possessions from your vehicle before leaving the accident scene. Accidents happen so quickly, which is why you should know what to do when this happens before you encounter an accident.
When the police finish cleaning up the accident scene and have all the information they need, everyone will get to leave and go home (unless an ambulance already transported them to the hospital).
Before you leave the scene, look inside your car and take anything you need. If you have a purse or wallet in there, grab it. If you have anything else that you might need, grab it before leaving.
- Get the Other Party's Name and Information
At some point, you should also ask the other people involved for their names and information. You should get their phone numbers and the license plate number from the vehicle.
You can also ask for a copy of their insurance card. If they have their card handy, you can snap a picture of it with your cellphone.
You will have access to this information on the police report, but you might not be able to get this document for several days. Therefore, getting the information yourself may be helpful as you begin working on settling the accident.
- Take Pictures or Videos
If you are not injured and can, you should document the accident scene as thoroughly as possible. You can do this with your cellphone by taking pictures and videos.
Walk around the entire scene with your phone snapping photos of everything, even the things that seem trivial or unimportant.
If you have the whole accident scene on video or pictures, you will have proof to use when settling your case.
- Speak With Witnesses
Again, if you can, you should speak to anyone that saw the accident happen. If the witnesses can corroborate your side of the story, encourage them to stick around and fill out a police report.
The witnesses of an accident also play a significant role when proving fault in a case. If you end up in a lawsuit, your lawyer may call the witnesses in to testify about what they saw during the event.
- Seek Medical Help
A lot of people do not realize that they are injured right after a collision occurs. Part of the reason for this is due to the adrenaline rush that naturally occurs when traumatic events happen.
Even if you feel perfectly fine after the accident, you should seek medical help. Some common injuries from car accidents don't appear right away. A concussion is an example of an injury that you might have and not even realize it.
- Avoid Incriminating Yourself
During this time, you must avoid incriminating yourself, too. Incriminating yourself means that you say things that imply guilt for causing the accident.
Just remember that anything you say afterward may end up in the police report, even if you say something to witnesses or the other party. They may repeat things you said, so use caution when speaking.
- Call Your Insurance Company
One of the last things you'll need to do after a car accident is call your insurance company. You do not have to make this call while you are at the scene.
Instead, you can wait until you get home to notify your insurance company. You should, however, try to let them know as soon as you can.
If you did not cause the accident, your insurance company will work with the other person's insurance agent to aim to settle your case.
You may not be able to work out a settlement in this way, though. Instead, you may need to contact this car accident lawyer.
"What Should I Do After a Car Accident?" Contact a Lawyer
Chances are, if you drive, you will get into a car accident at some point in your life.
Accidents happen often, and this is why you should learn, "what should I do after a car accident?" If you learn these things before it happens, you'll know how to handle the situation when it happens.
You can learn more about settling a car accident case by talking to a personal injury lawyer. You can also learn more by checking out our blog for helpful and informative articles on this topic.