When you’ve been in a car accident, it can be easy to panic and feel at a loss of what to do next. Adrenaline may surge through your veins, and your mind can struggle to comprehend what just happened. But if you know what to do beforehand, you’ll be better prepared to make it through the aftermath of the accident.
Below, we’ll discuss nine steps you should take when you’ve been in an auto accident.
- Remain at the Scene of the Accident
No matter who’s at fault for the accident, stay put. Fleeing from the scene can get you into trouble with the law, and sticking to the area to gather information can help you bolster your claim with your insurance company.
- Check for Any Injuries
Make sure everyone’s okay, including yourself, your passengers, and those in the other vehicle. Even if there aren’t any visible injuries, look for wooziness, confusion, or other odd behaviors. If you’re unsure if an injury or condition is serious, call an ambulance anyway. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it isn’t always easy to spot internal injuries or head trauma.
- Get to Safety
If you’re able to move your vehicle, pull over to get out of traffic. However, if you feel unsafe moving your vehicle, don’t risk it. Whether your car is still in the road or tucked neatly to the side, put on your flashers, and if you have any cones or flares, put them to good use.
If you’re unable to move your car, ensure you, your passengers, and anyone else involved gets to safety at the edge of the road and away from moving traffic.
- Call the Cops
Once everyone is safe and sound, call the police. Whether it was a minor fender bender or a rough collision, it helps to have an uninvolved third party take a look at the accident and make their own notes. Police officers can take witness statements, take pictures, and record other observations. Later on, you may want to ask for a copy of the police accident report to help with your claim.
The cops can also help direct oncoming traffic to avoid other accidents or problems. When they interview you, stay honest and only tell the truth. If they ask if you’ve been injured and you aren’t sure yet, don’t tell them no. Simply say you’re uncertain, since some injuries can take hours to appear.
- Exchange Information With the Other Driver
Before you leave the scene, be sure you get the other driver’s information and give them your own information. You should exchange the following details:
- License plate numbers
- Vehicle makes and models
- Phone numbers
- Insurance carriers
- Insurance policy numbers
- Take photos of damages of all vehicles
It can also be helpful to jot down their email address and any other helpful details.
- Take Notes and Photos
While the police may take pictures and make their own observations, it can be helpful to capture a few of your own photos of the scene, the vehicles, and the damage. It’s also a good idea to write down everything you remember about the incident while it’s still fresh on your mind, and if you feel up to it, you can interview a few witnesses on your own.
- Don’t Confess Guilt or Apologize
Even if you think you may be at fault, don’t admit to any guilt. Doing so can sway the view of everyone involved, and it may cause you trouble down the line, especially if the other party decides to sue. Instead, let the insurance companies and police make their own judgements from the facts and evidence.
- Place a Call to Your Insurance Company
As soon as you can, call your insurance company to make a claim. Again, when interviewed, answer honestly and truthfully, and if you’re unsure if you’re injured, simply say you’re uncertain. If you lie, your insurance company can refuse to provide coverage for the accident and any damages involved.
- Take a Trip to the Doctor
You may feel generally okay after a fender bender, but it’s still best to visit a medical professional after an auto accident. Medical professionals can check you over, and if you’re feeling any pain or have unusual symptoms, they can ensure it’s nothing serious. Even if you don’t think it’s a huge deal, your health should not be brushed aside.
A car accident can be a scary experience, but it’s important to make sure everyone is safe and healthy as soon as possible. And if you’re able, it’s always best to gather as much information as you can. Use the steps above to help you know what to do once you’ve been in an accident.
And should you ever be in an accident, you want to ensure you have a great insurance policy with excellent coverage. At Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, Inc., we can help you find the perfect policy for you, your budget, and your family. Just give us a call, and we’ll work with you to get you the coverage you need.