Being in an accident is a very traumatic experience for anyone, no matter how serious or minor. It is not uncommon to forget what the proper steps to take following an accident are, since drivers are often overwhelmed with shock immediately following impact. Here is a ten step recap of what to do after you have been in an accident that every driver should know:
If you have been in an accident, the very first thing that you should do is pull over. Make sure that you are pulled over in a safe location, and be sure to turn on your hazards so that other drivers are aware of your car. You should NEVER leave the scene of an accident, whether it be with another vehicle, or any other objects such as a stop sign or fence.
Once you are stopped in a safe location and have put your hazards on, you should then check yourself to make sure that you did not obtain any injuries. Even if there is no visible injury, it is common for areas such as the neck and back to act up in the days following the accident, so be sure to constantly monitor this and see a health professional if necessary.
After examining yourself, you should then check on any passengers that may have been in the car with you at the time of the accident.
Once you have made sure that your passengers have not sustained any injuries, you should call 911. The operator will ask if everyone that has been in the accident is okay, as well as where your location is so that they can dispatch someone accordingly. If you have been in an accident with another driver, only one person needs to call 911 and inform them that an accident has occurred.
After you or the other driver involved in the accident have called 911, you should exchange car insurance. Your up-to-date insurance card should be kept in your car at all times.
Once the police arrive at the scene, they will complete a police report for the accident. They may ask you questions regarding what happened, which you should answer as detailed and truthfully as possible.
Either after the police report has been completed or while waiting for the police to arrive, you should take photos of both your vehicle as well as the other vehicle if applicable. Be sure to ask permission from the other driver before doing so, to prevent any unnecessary conflicts of interest. In addition to taking photos of the vehicles, take a picture of the area or intersection where the accident occurred if you are able to safely do so.
After photos of the damage and accident location have been taken, be sure to take note of any witnesses around that may have seen the accident.
Once you have a police report, photographs, and have gathered any possible witnesses, you should contact your insurance company to let them know that you have been in an accident. They will then provide you with the steps to go about repairing your vehicle and filing any proper claims or statements.
After your insurance company has been contacted, it may in your best interest to seek an attorney. You may be eligible to receive compensation for your pain and suffering as a result of the automobile accident. If you are unsure whether or not you have a case, contact our office at (631)543-3663 for a free consultation as soon as possible.