It’s not a situation any of us ever wants to be in, but accidents are accidents because we can’t plan for them. If you are ever unfortunate enough to be in an accident, whether or not you are at fault, there are a few things that need to be done in order to ensure the safety of not only the drivers involved but the drivers on the road as well. I’ve heard horror stories about people, unfortunately, getting into a car accident the moment they pull out of their local car dealership’s lot. While none of us ever plans to be in a car accident, remembering these few tips can help the process afterward go more smoothly for everyone involved.
Move to a safe area (if you can)
If you aren’t seriously injured, move your car out of further harm’s way. If your car is able to be moved, and it is safe to do so, try to get it over to the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot. Also, flip on your flashers so that other drivers know your car isn’t going to be moving.
Stop your vehicle and get out
Sounds simple, but in an accident you may be dazed and forget. Make sure your car has stopped moving. Kill the Engine. Set the hand brake if you have a standard. Put it in park, and get out of the car.
Check on others involved
Check on all the other parties involved, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians, to make sure no one is hurt. Call 911 if anyone may be injured. Even a seemingly minor symptom like dizziness should be checked out by a healthcare professional.
Call the police to the scene
Even in minor accidents, police reports can be an invaluable tool for documenting fault in the accident. Also, some states have laws where leaving the scene before the police arrive can be a crime. Play it safe and call them
If the police can’t make it to the scene (which is more likely if there are no injuries), you can file an accident report through your state’s DMV.
Try to write down as much info as possible in the accident aftermath, including:
- Driver and passenger names
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- Makes and models of all vehicles involved
- Contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Location of the accident
- The name and badge number of any responding police officers
Document the scene
If you have a Smartphone with a camera, snap some photos of the accident scene. They’ll come in handy during the claim process.
File your insurance claim
Last but certainly not least. Call your insurance company, or the other parties insurance if they were at fault and file a claim for property and medical damages.