If you are involved in a car accident, it can be a very unsettling experience. Soon after the collision occurs, your mind may not be able to think clearly and focus on what needs to be done next. However, this is an important time, as what you do immediately following the car accident can significantly affect the well being of yourself and others. Since you will likely be confused during this time, it is advised that you print off a checklist of the following tasks to ensure that you do not forget to do them. Click Here for Our Downloadable "What to Do in Case of A Car Accident" Infographic.
Check On Those Involved
First, it is important to assess the condition of yourself and your passengers. If anyone is injured or unconscious, call an ambulance. If anyone is complaining of neck or back pain, do not move them, as it can make the injury worse.
Move Off The Road (If Applicable)
In cases where the collision is minor or there are not any serious injuries, there is no need to leave the vehicles in the same position. Instead, it is better to preserve the safety of others by moving the vehicles out of oncoming traffic to a safe place, where you can follow the rest of these steps.
However, if the collision disabled a vehicle or there is serious property damage or injury, leave the cars as they are. The police will need to assess the scene, so they can file an accurate report of the accident. Wait until the police say that it is okay to leave, as failing to do so may result in criminal charges.
Get the Necessary Information
After you have checked on the others, you should assess the damage caused by the collision. Take down the names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance information and drivers' license numbers of those involved. It is also advisable to write down the make, model, license plate number and relative position of each vehicle involved. Finally, write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident along with a brief summary of what they saw.
When the police arrive, be sure to write down the names and badge numbers of the officers as well as the accident report number, as this information may be useful later when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Document the Damage
If you have a cellphone (or camera), photograph the accident scene, documenting the damage to the vehicles from several angles. Also, take photographs of any injuries that you sustain. As cellphones can go missing and photos can easily be deleted, store the photographs in a secure location as soon as you are able.
Aside from photographic documentation of injuries, it is important to keep thorough written records of all medical treatment and medication that you receive following the accident. Keep copies of all bills and records, as well as your own written summary of each visit to the doctor. Doing this is important in ensuring that your insurance carrier fairly reimburses you.
Seek a Medical Evaluation
If you are injured, do not make the mistake of assuming that your symptoms and pain will go away in a few days. Instead, you should get a full medical evaluation as soon as possible to ensure that everything is all right. Some serious medical conditions are not immediately apparent. Since most insurance companies cover medical exams following car accidents, cost should not be a concern.
Consider Speaking to An Attorney
You may already know that the insurance company for the person who caused the accident does not have your best interests at heart. Instead, it is their goal to minimize your injuries and potentially settle your claim, before you are aware of the full extent of your injuries and losses. Having the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney can ensure that you receive fair and full compensation for your injuries.