When you’re involved in a car crash, the steps to take immediately after remain important. Establishing who caused the crash is part of the process. But ensuring that everyone is OK comes first.
People don’t know how they’re going to react to a car accident until they’re involved in one. Remember to maintain a level head. It’s going to help you recall the details of the accident. If you experience injuries, seeing a medical professional helps you determine their extent.
The following are seven important steps to take after a car crash.
1. Check on the People in Your Car
The severity of a vehicle accident determines how quickly everyone in the car can take action. After an accident, check on the people in your car. Determine if anyone needs immediate medical attention.
Data gathered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the passenger is at most risk during a crash. In 2019, passengers passed away in 62% of crashes.
Some vehicle crash injuries develop immediately and the following day. Others take longer to manifest. If you or other people in your vehicle develop noticeable injuries, they need a medical opinion. Then, you need to decide how you’ll handle the expenses associated with the medical services.
2. Pull Off the Main Road
A vehicle accident turns chaotic quickly. The accident is as traumatic for the people who witness it as for the people involved. After checking on the individuals in the vehicle, pull off the main road.
If your vehicle is severely damaged, this poses a challenge. Keep in mind that you’re blocking traffic. When you can’t move the vehicle, exit it. When it’s safe, walk off the main road.
At this point, many people feel the impulse to flee the scene. This is a mistake. Leaving the scene puts you in a bad position, especially if the other party contacts the police.
JT Legal Group outlines additional mistakes individuals involved in a car accident make.
3. Check on the Other People Involved
Once you make it to a safe place off the main road, check on the other people involved. Amid an accident, remain courteous. It’s tough to feel this emotion if the other vehicle crashed into yours.
Take the time to check on the party. It’s not necessary to have a conversation with them about the accident. Legal professionals advise against it. For example, if the other party is at fault, but you admit you’re under stress, the case can slip from your fingers easily.
4. Call 911
Every vehicle accident requires documentation. Thus, call 911. The operator asks a series of questions. Once they understand your location, they page the proper authorities including the police.
If you report that individuals require immediate medical attention, the operator pages an ambulance. Sometimes the fire department shows up too.
Police fill out forms that benefit both parties. They act as an impartial third party that takes note of the accident. Before you leave the scene, ensure that you have the other party’s contact and insurance information.
A police report makes it easier to obtain the data, especially if you’re attending to someone in your party.
5. Take Pictures of the Damage
Some insurance companies give their clients accident kits. The kits include disposable cameras, a questionnaire, and a pen. If you don’t have one of these kits, use your smartphone camera to start documenting the damage.
Take pictures of the damage sustained by your vehicle. It helps to document the other vehicle’s position. Pictures of skid marks from the accident and car parts become helpful documentation too.
6. Talk with Witnesses
If there are witnesses around the crash site, make friends with them. Ask them questions about what they saw.
This step is solely an information-gathering task. In the course of speaking with witnesses, do not admit to anything. Again, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Every vehicle accident is different. When the injuries are severe, you might need the legal services of a personal injury lawyer.
7. Start an Insurance Claim
Once you organize yourself and accident documents, start an insurance claim with your provider. Provide them with the documentation you received from the police officer at the scene.
Add your pictures of the damage and recollections of the incident. If you need help filing an insurance claim, personal injury lawyers have experience in this realm.
Being involved in a car crash is a daunting experience. During the chaos that ensues, maintain a level head on your shoulders. Check on your passengers and step out of the vehicle to safety. Ensure that the other party is OK. Contact the police who will record the details of the accident.
If necessary, contact a personal injury lawyer who will guide you the rest of the way.