Being in a car accident is an unpleasant experience. Even if you manage to avoid getting injured, there is likely damage to your car, and you’ll need to deal with a lot of paperwork, and perhaps some angry people going forward. If you don’t know what to do when an accident occurs, your situation will feel even more overwhelming when it happens. To help you out, here are some steps that you should follow, if you ever find yourself in a car accident.
Get Emergency Help If Needed
The first thing to assess is whether you or anyone else involved needs emergency assistance. Before you take care of anything else, call an ambulance so that they get there as soon as possible. During this time you should also make sure that everyone involved can get to a safe location – such as out of a burning car, or out of the middle of traffic. If everything is safe, and everyone is okay, then you can proceed to the next steps.
Call The Police To File A Report
Even if you don’t need emergency assistance, you’ll likely want a police officer there to file a car accident report. A police report can come in handy when it comes time to file your insurance claim, and to ensure that the truth comes out. If the accident was not your fault, you don’t want to find out later that the other person is not taking responsibility. While you are waiting for the police to arrive, you can take care of a few other things.
Swap Information With The Other Driver
Next, if there was another driver involved with the accident, you should get their information. This includes their name, phone number, home address, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. Write this all down, or store it in your phone, and be prepared for the other driver to want your own information. If the other driver won’t give you their information, let the police handle it when they arrive, but try to at least write down the make and model of the car, along with the license plate number.
Another good thing to do is take pictures of the accident. This includes any damage to your own car, damage to other cars, and the surrounding area. For instance, if the accident was caused because some tree limbs were covering up a stop sign at night, it is probably a good idea to get a picture of this. the more photographic proof you can have of the accident and its causes, the better. Most people have cameras on their phones these days, so take out your phone and snap a couple of pictures before moving anything.
Have Your Car Towed
If you are unable to drive your car home, you’ll need to get it towed. Many insurance companies offer complimentary towing, so see if yours has this available. If not, find a local towing company on your phone, or ask the police officer when they arrive. You’ll likely need a ride home after taking care of your car, so consider downloading an app like Lyft on your way to the mechanic, so that you can get yourself home.
Hire A Lawyer
In many instances, a car accident will be straightforward. The insurance companies will handle most of it, and you’ll just have to worry about your car getting fixed. If you were injured in the process however, you may be dealing with medical bills, and an attorney could come in handy. According to Amerio, a Sacramento-based firm, if you’ve been injured in an accident, “ The amount of compensation and peace-of-mind you receive from your claim often depends on hiring the right attorney.” You’ve got enough to deal with, let a lawyer handle all of the legal work going forward.
Keep Calm and Collected
Many people are justifiably rattled after a car accident. You likely won’t have the presence of mind to pull out your phone and figure out what to do. By learning the process now, you are more likely to remember it when the time comes, and make sure everything goes right going forward. Just remember to try and stay calm, and to recall everything you’ve learned.