Did you know that about 391,000 people are injured in a car accident due to distracted driving?
First Car Accident: Even if you’re the safest and most focused driver, accidents can still happen. When you’re involved in your first car accident, it’s one of the most stressful things anyone can ever go through.
First Car Accident – Make Sure to Take These Crucial 5 First Steps
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Read on to learn what to do after a car accident so you’re never caught off guard.
- Ensure the Safety of Everyone Involved
If you’re conscious after a car accident, the first thing you need to do is make sure you didn’t sustain any major injuries. Once you know you’re safe, check on the other passengers that might have been with you in the vehicle.
The next thing you need to do is pull your car over to the side of the road if you think your car can make it. If your car is not driving able, the only thing you can do is turn on your hazards and to warn other cars. In order to prevent further collisions, it’s a good idea to turn on your flares if you have them.
Once you move the car to the shoulder of the road, shift it to park and turn it off. Depending on the severity of the accident, you might need to take a moment to catch your breath and make sense of what happened.
Before you get out of your car, make sure it’s safe.
Once you’re out of the vehicle, you can go check on the passengers of the other vehicle(s). If you noticed anyone is severely injured, call 911 as soon as possible, so they get medical care right away.
If you notice one of the other people is unconscious or severely injured don’t try to move them.
It’s extremely important you don’t leave the scene of the crime until you’re authorized to do so. Leaving the scene of the crime will be taken as a hit-and-run and you will face serious penalties, especially if someone was severely injured or killed.
- Call the Police to the Scene
It might be obvious to call the police if there is extensive property damage or injuries. However, if no one was injured and there was no property damage, you should still call the police and make a report in case your insurance company requires one. They might want a copy of the police report in order to file any claims.
Depending on the law in your state, it could be mandatory to call the police and make a report. In some instances, you can go to the police station later that day or the next day to file the report.
Once the police arrive at the scene, make sure you collect their information such as their name and badge numbers.
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, you should exchange information with the other party, so you don’t forget to do it after the police arrive.
It’s important to keep your cool when talking to the other party even if you know they were at fault. Try to keep the conversation brief and to the point. Simply take down their information and don’t admit fault.
Try to ask simple questions like, “Is everyone okay,?” “I called 911, let’s exchange information while we wait for them to arrive.” Avoid saying things such as, “I’m sorry, I didn’t pay attention” or “I’m sorry for hitting you.”
If you make any of those statements, you could be admitting fault. It’s best that you talk to the police about it, and let them objectively decide who is at fault.
Any talk about the facts of the accident should only be done with the police. However, you can still gather the following documents:
- License plate number
- Insurance information
- Names of all the passengers
- Driver’s license number
- Make and model of any vehicles involved
- The exact location of the accident
- Contact number or email of all the other drivers
Once you gather all of the information you need about the other people involved, you don’t have to talk to the other party until the police arrive.
- Gather Information About the Scene
Aside from gathering their insurance and contact information, you should also document the scene of the accident.
Start by taking photos of any damage to your vehicle as soon as you can. This information will be valuable down the road when your insurance company evaluates your car for the damages.
Make sure you also take photos of the damage sustained to the other vehicles. If the other person ever wants to say their damages were more, you will have evidence of the contrary.
You should also take photos of the surroundings such as the street signage in case you’re foggy after the accident.
If there are any witnesses at the scene that saw what happened, you might want to talk to them as well and take down their information.
- File a Claim and Get Medical Help
If you didn’t sustain severe injuries but still think you need medical help, you should go to the emergency room after you have talked to the police. Remember that your health is first, so you need to take care of that before any of the paperwork.
The next thing you should do is call both insurance companies and file a claim. They will take down all of the facts.
Make sure you cooperate with your insurance company, so you can put the accident behind you as soon as possible.
- Talk to a Car Accident Injury Lawyer
In some cases, a car accident might lead to a lawsuit. When this happens, it’s best to talk to an experienced attorney to handle your case.
An attorney will be able to access your case when they gather all of the important details of the accident.
What to Do After Your First Car Accident
Now that you know what to do after your first car accident, you’ll be better prepared if the situation ever happens.
Start by making sure everyone is safe, call the police, gather information, file a claim, and talk to a car accident lawyer.