Getting in a car accident, even a small one, can be a frightening experience. In the rush of adrenaline and shock, it’s easy to find yourself at a loss for what to do first, and how to proceed in order to ensure that everyone involved is safe and the necessary tasks that come with a car accident are completed. If you take the time to learn what it is that you should be doing before you’re in an accident, it will be easier to rely on your memory and sort through the situation. Here are the five basic steps that you need to follow directly after you’ve been in a car accident.
Stay Calm and Check on Yourself and Your Passengers
After a car accident, even just a fender bender, do your best to stay calm and take stock of yourself first. Your physical health and safety are the utmost priority. Do you feel any pain? Do you see any serious injuries? If so, stay put and ask someone to call 911. If not, check on any other people in your car. Are they injured? If they are, administer any first aid that you’re confident with and call 911. It’s best not to move a seriously injured or unconscious person if you can help it.
Get to Safety
Getting to a safe place is the second thing you should do after an accident. If your car is still in drivable condition, this means moving over to the side of the road and out of traffic. Otherwise, get yourself away from the vehicle and find a place where you won’t be in any danger from the damaged cars or other vehicles on the road.
Once you and any of your passengers are in a safe location, call 911 immediately, even for smaller accidents. In some states, it’s even legally required. Having the police there to document the accident is very important, especially for insurance claims later on. Once the police arrive, they will ask you and any other people involved some questions, and document the scene of the accident.
Once you’ve followed the previous steps, you need to exchange information with any other drivers involved in the crash. It’s important to note that aside from making sure you have all the necessary details from each other, you should avoid talking too much, especially about the crash itself. Don’t discuss who was at fault or any other details of the accident. Doing so could affect the insurance claims process later. You’ll need to get each other’s names and contact information, driver’s license number, insurance company and policy number, and license plate. It’s also a good idea to take note of the make, model, and color of their car, as well as the location of the accident.
Document the Accident
Finally, as long as you are safe to do so, it’s a good idea to take your own documentation of the accident, even if the police have already done it. Take pictures of damage to the vehicles and any skid marks or damage to other things around the road, from multiple angles if you can. Get the names and badge numbers of the police officers present and ask how to get a copy of the accident report. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. All of these details can help you in the insurance claims process down the line, and it’s best not to rely on anyone else to ensure that this important information is preserved.
Once all of these steps are completed, it’s time for you to head home, rest and recover, and begin the insurance process by submitting a claim to your insurance company. In order to do this, of course, it’s crucial that you have a car insurance policy in place before your accident! If you’re looking for auto insurance, YMI can help you. Contact us today with any questions you might have!