What Should You Do After a Vehicle Accident?

Nobody likes to think about being in a car accident, but as is true in so many other aspects of life, when you anticipate trouble and prepare for it, you’re better equipped to deal with it when it happens. Being in a car accident is an excellent example of this. As upsetting and shocking as the circumstances may be, knowing exactly what to do will help ensure that you act in your own best interests, and in the best interests of all involved. Here are the five basic steps that everybody should follow after a vehicle accident.

  1. Check yourself and others for injuries. The absolute most important thing is to attend to everybody’s physical wellbeing. If you or any of your passengers are injured, you need to call 911 or make sure that somebody else has done so. Depending upon the injuries incurred, you may need to wait for emergency personnel to arrive and receive treatment, either on the scene or at the hospital.
  2. Make sure that you’re safe. Generally, that means moving your vehicle out of the path of traffic. That may mean pulling over to a shoulder or removing yourself from the street onto a sidewalk. If you remain in the street, you are at further risk for injury.
  3. Call 911 to get the authorities on the scene. Even if medical attention isn’t required and the accident is minor, you want to make sure that the police document the incident. This is so important that if the police are not available you should go to them to have a police report written up. Your auto insurance company will require a police report for the claims process, and it will be an extremely helpful document if legal action is required.
  4. Gather driver information. You will need the other driver’s contact information and their insurance information in order to be able to process an insurance claim. Do not trust that the other person will call you back, insist on the information. Cell phones make it easy to take a photo of their vehicle, of their insurance card (which contains both company name and policy number), of their driver’s license (which will contain their name, address, and driver’s license number), and their license plate. You also want to note the exact location of the accident and to jot down as much as you can about the accident immediately. The details that you write down at the moment will be most valuable when you are questioned about the accident later.
  5. Document all other pertinent information. In addition to the information about the accident and the driver, you want to get the names, badge numbers, and contact information for all officers that arrive on the scene and find out how you can get a copy of the accident report. You should take photos of the scene of the accident from as many angles as possible, as well as of the general location. If there are any witnesses or other parties involved in the accident, collect their names and contact information as well.

For help with filing an injury claim following a vehicle accident, contact us to set up an appointment for a free consultation.