Just about everyone will be in a car accident at some point. Hopefully it will be as minor as a fender bender or being rear ended. Regardless of how minor your accident is, however, there are a few things you should always do after a collision.
This handy checklist will help you get your day back on track, check the key boxes to getting much needed compensation and ensure you walk away healthy. Even if there isn’t major damage and you don’t feel like you’ve been injured, keep this checklist in mind.
After the accident occurs
According to Forbes, you can expect to be in three or four auto accidents over the course of your life. Odds are, this won’t have anything to do with your driving ability; it may be road conditions, other distracted drivers or even a complete fluke. They’re called accidents for a reason. After you are in an accident, it is important that you:
Call 911 – Having emergency services present is crucial after an accident. They can help if someone is badly hurt, they will help clear the scene and allow you to give a statement.
Keep the other driver present – This is something people often overlook. Speak to the other driver and make sure they stick around. You will need their information as well as their statement. If they try to drive off, make sure to note their license plate and physical description.
Exchange information – Once it’s clear the other driver isn’t going anywhere, be sure to exchange insurance information, phone numbers, email addresses and any other contact info. Depending on the severity of the accident, you, or your attorney, may need to contact them.
Take photographs – Photographs are excellent evidence and can greatly increase the compensation you receive. Photograph the damage to the cars, the area of the accident, if there were any blind spots, skid marks, potholes, the other drivers ID, everything.
Give a statement – Once the authorities arrive, give as detailed account of the accident as you possibly can. Having an accurate account of what happened on the books can have a powerful impact if you need to go to court – get it recorded while the incident is still fresh in your mind.
Visit the hospital – Even if you don’t feel injured, get checked out at a hospital after the scene is cleared. The last thing you want is to have your adrenaline wear off and realize you’ve had a broken rib all afternoon. A medical record, like an accident report, can make a huge difference regarding compensation.
Call an attorney – Insurance companies are often happy to give you compensation, but you can expect the payout to best fit their bottom line. A personal injury attorney will look at every variable off your accident and get you the most compensation possible to cover your vehicle repairs, medical bills, lost wages and other expenses you incur.
Car accidents are stressful, time consuming, painful and aggravating. One of the best ways to get back on your feet is to have a plan. If you find yourself on the receiving end of an auto crash, try to keep your wits about you and remember the checklist.