After an auto collision, the next move might not be clear. But there are certain steps you should take to ensure your safety and the safety of others, as well as to protect your legal rights.
Taking your vehicle to an auto body shop comes after the necessary insurance, police reports and, if needed, medical care is taken care of.
1. Stop the Car and Check for Injuries
The first thing you should do after a car accident is stop the car and check for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
If you don’t have any significant injuries, begin with the next steps, but keep in mind that auto injury symptoms can be latent. They may not manifest until hours or even a day or two following an accident. As soon as you can, make an appointment with a doctor for an examination.
2. Move Your Car to a Safe Location
If you can, move your car to a safe location off of the road. But only do this if it can be done safely — don’t put yourself or others at risk by trying to move a damaged or disabled vehicle. If you can’t move your car, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
3. Call the Police
In most states, it’s required by law to call the police after an accident, even if it’s a minor one. The responding officers will likely file an accident report, which can be useful later on. Be sure to get a copy of the police report for your records.
4. Exchange Information With the Other Driver
Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number and insurance information. Also, write down the make and model of their car, as well as their license plate number. If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information as well.
5. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
Use your cell phone or a camera to take photos of the damage to both cars, as well as any visible injuries. If there are skid marks on the road, take pictures of those as well. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance card.
6. Get Witness Statements
If there are any witnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information. Ask them what they saw and get their account of what happened.
7. Notify Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible after the accident, notify your insurance company that it occurred. You will likely need to file an insurance claim, and the sooner you do so, the better. Be sure to give them all the relevant details about the accident, including pictures if you have them.
8. Seek Medical Treatment
If you were injured in the accident, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s still a good idea to be checked out by a doctor. In some cases, injuries may not be immediately apparent, and seeking treatment can help ensure that you get the care you need.
9. Keep Track of All Expenses Related to the Accident
If you’ve been in an accident, you may incur a variety of expenses, including medical bills, car repairs, and lost wages. Be sure to keep track of all of these expenses so that you can be reimbursed for them later.
10. Hire an Attorney
If you’ve been in a serious accident, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process and will fight for your rights. If you’ve been wrongfully injured, an attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
The moments after a car accident can be confusing and overwhelming. But it is important to remember that you have rights and there are things you can do to protect those rights. By following the steps above, you will be in a better position to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Most Common Causes Of Collisions
This is by far the most common cause of collisions. Drivers who are distracted by their phones, passengers or other things inside the car are more likely to cause accidents.
If you’re driving, make sure to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. If you need to do something that will take your attention away from driving, pull over to a safe location first.
We’ve all been tempted to go a little above the speed limit from time to time, but speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents.
When you’re driving faster than the posted speed limit, you have less time to react to potential hazards. You’re also more likely to lose control of your vehicle.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never a good idea. If you’re caught, you could face legal penalties, and you put yourself and others at risk of being involved in an accident.
If you’re going to drink, make sure to have a designated driver. And if you’re taking medication that could impair your ability to drive, don’t get behind the wheel.
We’ve all been there. Someone cuts us off in traffic, and we get angry. But road rage is never a good idea.
If you find yourself getting angry while driving, try to take a deep breath and relax. Road rage can lead to real problems, like serious injury or death.
Fatigue can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. If you’re really tired, you should take the situation seriously while driving — have someone else drive or pull over and take a quick nap if you need to.
Dangerous Weather Conditions
Bad weather is one of the leading causes of car accidents. If you can, avoid driving in hazardous weather conditions.
If you must drive, take extra care and go slowly.
The most common weather conditions that lead to auto accidents are:
- Snow and ice
- Heavy rain
- Strong winds
If you run into any of these conditions while driving, be extra cautious.
No matter what the situation is, always remember to stay calm and take your time while driving. If you can’t avoid being in a car accident, at least you can try to avoid making it worse.
Defective Car Parts
Sometimes, car accidents are caused by defective car parts. If you think that a defective part might have caused your accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer to investigate.
A good car accident lawyer will know how to investigate whether a defective car part was the cause of your accident and, if so, who is responsible.