Perhaps you have never been in a vehicle crash, which, of course, is a good thing. Still, would you know what to do if you were?
Here are six steps to take if the unexpected happens and you are the victim of a car accident.
1. Check for injuries
Naturally, you will check yourself for injuries first. You should then check on anyone else involved in the crash, including drivers, passengers and bystanders. If there are any injuries, call 911 to summon emergency medical personnel.
2. Call the police
Even if the accident is minor, you will want a copy of the police report. When law enforcement officers arrive, answer their questions, but do not offer an opinion regarding who was to blame for the crash. Allow the police to make their own determination.
3. Exchange insurance information
While you wait for the police to arrive, exchange insurance information with the other driver(s). The insurance companies must know about the accident so they can work out which company pays for damages.
4. Document the incident
Collect information about the accident. Include the following:
- Names and contact information for drivers and passengers
- Names and contact information for any witnesses
- Makes and models of the vehicles involved
- License plate numbers
- Location of the crash site
- What the weather was like at the time of the crash
- The direction you were traveling and the direction the other vehicle was traveling
5. Take pictures
Your cellphone will be especially handy following a car crash. Take photos of the damage to the vehicles involved and pictures of the crash scene, including any identifiers such as street signs or buildings.
6. See a doctor
Even if you feel fine following the accident, see a doctor promptly. Some injury symptoms, such as a concussion or a more severe brain injury, may not appear right away. Your state of health is the most important consideration. Also, the doctor will write a medical report, and you should ask for a copy. Give this and a copy of the police report to your attorney. These documents will be important when your advocate negotiates insurance compensation on your behalf.