We spend hours and hours each week behind the wheels of our automobiles. In many ways, our vehicles become something of our second homes. With all this familiarity, it’s easy to forget that we put ourselves at great risk every time we get onto a public roadway.
It’s true! Car accidents are far more common than we like to believe. In fact, it is more than likely that each and every one of us will be in at least one accident at some point during our lifetimes. It’s important to have a car accident checklist in mind.
Taking the proper steps after a car accident can directly impact your future wellness and stability. What steps should you take following an incident? Read on and we’ll walk you through everything that you need to know.
Check the Health of Yourself and Others
If you’re lucky, the accident you might end up getting into might be a simple fender bender or a small scratch as a car goes by your left flank.
The unfortunate reality is that many accidents are much more serious than this, and the injuries that result from them can be quite serious as well. This is why the first thing you need to do after an accident occurs is check on the safety and wellness of yourself and others.
Do an immediate check over on yourself after the accident. Are you injured in any serious way? Really check. Adrenaline tends to flood the body during an accident, making it difficult to feel pain. You might be injured and not even aware of it.
Once you’ve checked on yourself, check on others in your vehicle. If anyone has been seriously injured, call 911 and request medical assistance right away. If it is safe to do so, you should also leave the vehicle and check on the driver and passenger of any other vehicles involved in the accident.
It is not your duty to assist anyone injured beyond what you know you are able to do. Improperly assisting an injured person could possibly make their injuries worse. Wait for the medical team to arrive and allow them to do the job.
Remember: you could be injured and not even aware of it until hours after an accident, due to the effects of shock. Do not assume you are fine just because you feel fine. We’ll discuss this a bit more later on.
Report the Accident
Now that you’re sure that everyone is at least relatively well following the accident, it’s time to report the accident and help clear the roadway. If your vehicles are blocking the flow of traffic, move them off the road and to safety.
This will also help to increase the safety of yourself and your passengers, as halted cars are sometimes hit again by cars coming down the freeway.
Throw your hazards on and throw a flare down on the road if need be, especially if the accident has happened at night.
Once the cars are safely out of the way of danger, call the police and report the accident. Give the officer on the line the time and location of the incident and a brief summary of what has occurred.
The police should send an officer out to your location as soon as they possibly can. When the police arrive at the scene, they’ll make a police report. This is an official record of the accident that will include details from you and the other driver involved in the accident.
When speaking with the police, avoid stating anything that you don’t know for sure. Do not draw conclusions. Do not take the blame for the accident, even if at this stage you might think it is your fault. You might not have all the details and evidence available to you.
Simply state the few facts of the accident as you know them at this point. The police will give you a copy of the report. This will be the first key piece of evidence you’ll need later on when seeking compensation from the opposing driver’s insurance company.
Gather Evidence and Information
While you wait for the police or after they leave, gather all the evidence and information you might need from the scene of the accident. Get all the information you can from the other driver.
That means all pertinent contact information for themselves as well as their insurance company. Get their driver’s license and license plate number. When you can, it’s a good idea to take photos of any pertinent documents that the driver has on them. This will help to avoid any errors in copying this information down.
You’ll also want to gather as many photos and videos from the scene of the accident as possible. Luckily, these days we all carry cameras around in our pockets, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to do.
Take photos of both vehicles. Take detailed photos of any damage done, as well as the positions of the vehicles if they are still on the roadway. Take photos of any injuries you or your passengers have sustained.
Take photos of videos the general area of the accident, highlighting skid marks, road conditions, and any other details that later might be considered pertinent.
Make note of any traffic devices in the area, whether they be stoplights, stop signs, crosswalks, and so forth. Note the distance between these elements and the accident itself.
If you’re lucky, there might be other drivers around who witnessed the accident. They might even have pulled over to see if you and others were okay following the accident.
The third-party view these other un-involved drivers can provide can be hugely helpful in working with an insurance company later down the line. If you can, you should attempt to get the contact information of these drivers as well as a copy of their initial impression of the accident and how it occurred.
If you can, get them to record a brief account using the voice notes on your phone. See if they’d be willing to give this account to the police for use on the police report.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Once everything is settled at the scene of the accident, you’ll want to contact your insurance company. Doing this sooner rather than later can make the whole process run much smoother.
Most car insurance policies require prompt notification. If you fail to call your insurance company soon after the accident, regardless of who is at fault, it could jeopardize the success of your case later on.
Reporting an accident isn’t the same as filing a claim, which is something you’ll still need to do later on, potentially. Keeping your insurance company in the loop, however, is something you’ll certainly want to do and quickly.
Visit a Medical Professional
Remember those injuries we were talking about earlier? Now that you’ve left the scene of the accident behind, it’s time to get those checked out. As we said, even if you feel perfectly healthy, it’s probably a good idea to go see a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible.
One, this will be good for your health. If you’re injured and unaware of it, a doctor will be able to recognize this and ensure you get the help that you actually need. Injuries that result from car accidents can easily worsen without care, and that’s the last thing you want to face following such a shocking incident.
In addition to your health, your visit to the doctor will serve another important function as well.
The medical report that a doctor gives you following your visit will be another key piece of evidence in your accident case. It will be verifiable proof of the injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. You’ll need this evidence if you hope to gain compensation from the other driver.
Call an Attorney
If you’ve been injured as a result of t
he negligence of another driver, you’ll have a right to compensation under the law. The opposing driver’s insurance company should pay for the damage done to your vehicle, your body, and the state of your life.
Sometimes it isn’t easy to get the compensation that victims should have a right to. Insurance companies are adept at fighting claims and will push back if the proper evidence isn’t assembled and presented to them.
This is why you will want to call and hire a car accident attorney to help you with your case. You can and should submit a request for service and find an attorney who can help you get the outcome that you deserve.
Moving Through a Post Car Accident Checklist
A car accident can be shocking, terrifying, and disrupt the day-to-day flow of our lives. The above car accident checklist will help to ensure you take the proper steps following an incident to return your life to a state of stability.
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