According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there are around 6.75 million US car accidents per year. That means over 18,000 crashes every single day
With these statistics, odds are good that if you’ve never been involved in an auto accident, you will someday.
Because of this, it’s important to know what to do when an accident occurs. Here are five important steps to take right after an accident.
- Contact the Police
Regardless of who is at fault, it is always safer to contact the police. Sometimes accidents result in heated exchanges between drivers. Having the police present can protect you and others involved from further injury or danger should there be a dispute.
The police will also file an official report of the accident. This is vitally important if your auto accident ends up with you in court.
Police also help facilitate the safe removal of people and vehicles from the accident scene as well as safely direct traffic during the process.
- Document the Details
Yes, the police will document the details, but it never hurts to record things from your own perspective. As soon as you can, following the auto accident, write down every detail you can remember.
Things like, what time of day, what direction you were driving, speed, number of passengers, where you were hit, any pain you or passengers may feel, and exactly what happened.
- Take Photos of Damage
Pull out your phone and take photos of the damage to your vehicle, and the other drivers’ vehicle. This can be very important later if you are falsely accused of damages that did not occur.
Photos can also protect you from insurance companies unwilling to pay for damages you can’t prove happened during the accident. Discover more important reasons protecting yourself legally is essential during an auto accident.
It’s also wise to photograph any bruises, scratches, or lacerations, that you may have received.
- Assess Injuries
Sometimes, especially in minor auto accidents, individuals may think they have suffered zero injuries. However, even in minor fender benders, it’s important to take a physical assessment and make sure you aren’t suffering any new pains or injuries that didn’t exist prior to the accident.
Too many people have walked away on “good terms” with the other person involved, only to discover later that they do in fact feel some kind of back, neck, or head pain.
It may take a few hours for injuries to manifest. If they do, document them and get a doctor to give you an official statement if necessary.
- Exchange Insurance Info
Again, never leave the scene of an accident without exchanging insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. Regardless of how minor the damage, this can come back to bite you if you don’t be sure you have contact information and insurance info from the others involved.
Getting Through Your Auto Accident
An auto accident can be jarring and emotional as well as costly and painful. Don’t forget to give yourself time to recover emotionally.
For more helpful tools to navigate major life events, browse the Law portion of our blog. Safe driving!