The NHTSA estimates that 5 to 6 million auto accidents happen every year in the US. If you’re in one of these accidents, it can be difficult knowing what to do after a car accident.
After all, it probably came out of nowhere and may even be the first time you are dealing with this kind of situation.
Luckily, by following a few steps, you can help protect your rights. Let’s take a look at what these steps are.
See a Medical Professional
As soon as the accident occurs, you should check and see if you or any of your passengers are injured. If so, you should call 911 immediately. If you’re seriously injured, try not to move if possible.
If you aren’t visibly injured, you should still seek medical care after the accident. Doing so will allow you to document any car accident injuries. Make sure to ask your provider for all documentation, including x-rays, scans, and bills.
Get to Safety
If possible, get to the side of the road or sidewalk. Staying in the lane of traffic can put you and others in danger.
If your car is causing a hazard at its current location and is safe to drive, move it to the side of the road. If this is not possible, leave the car and focus on getting yourself and others to safety.
Once you’re in a safe location, you should call the police. In some states, this is legally required, even for minor collisions. The police will be able to file an accident report and document the incident.
If police are unable to respond, go to the nearest police station. They can help you complete the report yourself.
While waiting for the police, turn on the hazard lights and turn off your engine. You should also set up road flares to warn other vehicles of the situation.
Make sure to ask the responding officer for a copy of the police report. Also, ask for the officer’s name and badge number. Many insurers require this during the claims process.
You’ll also want to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Make sure to jot down this information:
- Full name
- Contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, color, and model of vehicle
- Location of accident
While doing this, make sure you don’t discuss fault with the other driver. The adjuster that reviews your claim will determine fault based on the evidence.
You should also gather additional evidence at this time. Make sure to take pictures (and video if possible) of the scene, vehicles, and damage.
If there are any other passengers or witnesses, jot down their names and contact information too.
Get Legal Help
The next step is to contact your insurance provider. They can let you know what the claims process will look like and how to get your vehicle repaired.
It’s important not to forget about legal help. An auto accident attorney can help walk you through the process of filing a car accident lawsuit, if necessary.
They can also help you look over your documentation after the car accident. This may allow you to receive a car accident settlement depending on the situation.
Know What to Do After a Car Accident
Knowing what to do after a car accident is important in order to protect your rights. Follow these steps, to make sure you are in a good position if you end up with a car accident case.
If you want to learn more ways to protect your rights and finances, check out our other articles.