Getting into a car accident is an extremely stressful situation. It’s difficult to know what to do immediately after the accident, but this guide will help you. One of the most important things that you will need to do directly after the accident occurs is gather information. All sorts of varied information will need to be gathered, and you can read about each type below.
Information From the Other Driver
First, it is essential that you gather information from the other driver. You’ll need their full name, home address, phone number, date of birth and insurance information. Get the name of their insurance provider and their insurance policy number as well. You’ll also need to know who else was in their vehicle and get their information too, including full names and phone numbers. Finally, write down the driver’s license number and license plate number of the other driver.
Information From Bystanders and Witnesses
If any witnesses to the accident are still around when you get out of your car, gather as much information from them as you can. Ask them what they saw, and include all of the details that you can get. Next to whatever information they give you, write down their full name and phone number so that you can contact them in the future if necessary. If you don’t have a pen and a piece of paper handy, you can always use the voice recorder on your smart phone.
Information From Policemen and First Responders
Whenever a car accident occurs, at least one police officer must arrive on the scene and take notes about what occurred. All of these notes will be put into a police report, and you have the right to own a copy of this report. But the police officer may not immediately give you a copy, so it is essential that you make sure to specifically ask for it. Furthermore, get the full names and phone numbers of the policemen and first responders who arrive on the scene after the car accident. You’ll also want to get the police officer’s badge number. If emergency officials came in an ambulance to help out at the accident scene, get their full names and phone numbers as well. You should also ask them about your injuries and the injuries of anyone else on the scene so that you have official documentation of those.
Information From Your Fellow Passengers
Directly after the accident occurs, talk to your fellow passengers about what they experienced. You’ll need to document any injuries that they may have, but also ask them what they saw. Often times, the passengers in your car saw different things than you did as the driver when the accident occurred.
Pictures of the Scene
If you have a camera or smartphone with you, you’ll definitely want to take pictures of the accident scene. You should take pictures of your car, the other driver’s car, the actual accident and any injuries that occurred. In particular, take close-up pictures of your own injuries and the injuries of those in your car. These may be important if you experience further pain or discomfort from injuries sustained in an accident. It is possible to have deferred health complications from injuries like these, and you want to be prepared with documentation of the actual day if that happens.
Your Own Information
Finally, write down anything that you yourself remember about the accident. You may assume that you’ll remember everything a few weeks or months from the date of the accident, but you probably won’t, and you may miss some important facts and details. Take the time to write down what you saw and experienced so that you can have it in case you need it down the line.
Making sure that you have collected all of this information and any more that you can gather will ensure that you are well prepared for the future should anything with this accident cause problems for you. In some cases, personal injuries can lead to settlements, or you may need to contact a lawyer to ensure that you are not pinned for the medical bills and other expenses of the other driver when you were not at your fault.