It’s likely that you’ll feel shocked, stunned and even dizzy after a car accident in which you were involved. This can be an intensely harrowing experience, and you certainly won’t want to hurt or upset yourself even further. With that being said, if you’re able, it’s essential that you take certain steps so that you can protect yourself concerning this accident as it relates to your health, your finances and your insurance down the line. If you are involved in a car accident, make sure that you do the following things while you are still at the scene.
1. Assess the scene and seek help
The first thing that you’ll want is you if you get in an accident is assess the situation. Look at yourself and examine how you feel. Do you have any injuries? Even if you have a scrape, cut or bump, take note of these things. If you have a more severe injury, you need to get help as soon as possible. If you can, call 911 emergency services. If you can’t do this yourself, ask someone nearby to call for you.
Once you assess how you feel physically, assess any passengers that are in your car. Ask them how they’re doing and look them over to make sure that they are physically fine. Again, if any serious injuries have occurred, you need to contact emergency services right away. Call 911, or ask someone nearby to do this for you.
In addition to assessing your own possible injuries and the possible injuries of the passengers in your car, check on the other driver and passengers. Make sure that they are physically and mentally okay. If you notice that someone is unconscious or has sustained a head injury, you’ll want to seek medical attention for them as soon as possible. If they are experiencing back or neck pain, don’t move them.
2. Contact your insurance company
You’ll also need to contact your insurance company to let them know that the accident occurred. This doesn’t have to be a long phone call, but it’s important that you let them know what happened so that you can be covered down the line if complications occur. For this reason, always make sure that you have the phone number of your insurance company and your policy number in your wallet.
3. Exchange essential information with the other driver
If you and the other driver are without serious injuries, you need to talk to each other and exchange essential information as soon as possible. You’ll need to get the full name and phone number of the other driver as well as their address, their license plate number and their driver’s license number. You’ll also need to obtain the insurance company name that the other driver has and they’re own insurance policy number. If there are other passengers in the car, get their names, addresses and phone numbers as well.
This is a stressful situation, and especially if the accident wasn’t your fault, it’s easy to be agitated and anxious. Try to be as cordial as possible, and get to the point when obtaining the other driver’s information.
4. Take pictures of the scene and ask witnesses what they saw
You’ll want to document the accident scene as well as possible. Take pictures with the camera or smart phone, take your own notes and ask witnesses what they saw. You should get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses who give you information so that you can contact them later if necessary.
5. Get a copy of the police report
Once emergency services arrive, you’ll want to get all of their names and phone numbers as well. Police officers should give you their badge numbers. At any car accident scene, officers must file an accident police report, and you have a right to have a copy of this report. Try to get it as soon as possible.
Car accidents are stressful, but by making sure to take all of the steps above, you put yourself in the best possible situation.