What to Do After a Car Accident: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you drive a car on a regular basis, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to worry too much about getting into an accident. The average driver is only involved in a car accident about once every 18 years.
The bad news, though, is that this often leaves people shellshocked when they do get into an auto accident. They’re not sure what they’re supposed to do after a car accident takes place.
You should try to learn about what to do after a car accident before you’re ever in one. This will ensure that you’re able to spring right into action rather than panicking when you find yourself reeling in the aftermath of an auto accident.
There are a series of steps that you should be prepared to take following a car crash. Here is a guide on what you should do if you’re ever involved in an accident.
Step 1: Pull Your Car Over to a Safe Spot and Put It Into Park
After a car accident, it’s extremely important for you to stay on the scene. The last thing that you want to do is drive off before the police arrive and get yourself into a world of trouble as a result.
Instead, you should pull your car over after a car accident if you can and get it to a safe spot before parking it. You should then turn the engine off and get your bearings before doing anything else.
Oftentimes, you’re going to have lots of adrenaline coursing through your veins following an accident. You’re going to need a few seconds to pull yourself back together before doing anything else.
Step 2: Call 911 and Report the Accident
In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, there are likely going to be at least a few people who will call 911 to report it. But you shouldn’t let that stop you from picking up the phone and doing it, too. You want to make sure that police are sent out to the scene right away, and the only way to do that is by calling 911.
When you get a 911 operator on the phone, you should tell them that an accident has occurred. You should also give them the location of the accident and answer any pressing questions that they might have for you.
Step 3: See If You or Any of the Passengers in Your Car Need Medical Attention
One of the things that a 911 operator is going to ask you when you get them on the phone is whether or not you sustained any injuries. They’re also going to ask you if you have any passengers in your car and if they have any injuries.
You and your passengers should all check yourselves for any injuries while you’re reporting your accident. You should feel around for any bumps and bruises on your head and look at your limbs to see if any of them may have been injured during your crash.
Since you’re going to have so much adrenaline running through you, you might not feel the pain associated with injuries sustained during a car accident right away. It’s why you should check yourself out from head to toe to see if you can spot any signs of trouble.
Step 4: Provide Police With a Statement on What Happened During the Accident
Shortly after you report your car accident, police should show up on the scene. When they do, they’re going to want to speak with you about what happened before, during, and after the crash that took place.
You should try to calm yourself down so that you can provide them with clear, rational answers. You want to be able to set them up with your side of the story so they don’t just rely on the words of other drivers when piecing together a report.
Step 5: Exchange Car Insurance Information With Other Drivers Involved in the Accident
At some point after a car accident, you’re going to have to call your car insurance company and tell them about what happened. When you do, they’re going to want to know who else was involved in your crash.
You should exchange car insurance information with the other drivers who were involved so that you can give this info to your insurance company. If you’re unable to get your hands on their info for one reason or another, the police report stemming from the crash should include it. But it’s always a good idea to get the info ahead of time if you can to give your insurance company somewhere to start when it comes to investigating your accident.
Step 6: Look for Any Witnesses Who May Have Seen the Accident Take Place
When a car accident occurs, it’s not out of the ordinary for people to gather around the scene. With any luck, one or two of them may have witnessed the crash and will be able to shed some light on what took place during it.
Don’t be afraid to ask around to see if there are any witnesses on the scene. If someone tells you that they saw what happened, you should then ask them if they would mind sharing their contact info with you.
You can pass the names of any witnesses along to police and along to your insurance company. They could help to build a stronger case on your behalf and show that you weren’t to blame for the accident.
Step 7: Take as Many Photos of the Accident Scene as You Can
As recently as just a few years ago, people couldn’t usually take photos of an accident scene after getting into a crash. They didn’t always walk around with cameras on them.
But these days, most people drive around with a smartphone in their car. You should whip yours out and take as many photos of the accident scene as you can so that you can provide them later on, if necessary.
Police are often going to work to clean up the scene as quickly as possible after a car accident. You should snap photos before they do so that you’ll have them stored on your phone if you need them.
Step 8: Touch Base With Your Car Insurance Company About the Accident
We’ve touched on how you should contact your car insurance company after a car accident a few times now. But just to reinforce it: Now would be the time when you’ll want to reach out to them about your crash!
A representative from your car insurance company will help you start the process of filing a claim. They’ll ask you a bunch of questions about what happened during your crash and advise you on what you should do with your car if it needs to be repaired.
Step 9: Consider Calling on a Car Accident Lawyer for Help
If you sustained an injury during your car accident, you’re likely going to have some medical bills tied to it. You’re also probably going to have auto repair bills that you’ll need to deal with later.
If you do, you’re going to want to have a car accident lawyer on your side to help you navigate your way through things. You might be entitled to money in the aftermath of a car crash if someone else was to blame for it.
It wouldn’t hurt at all to get legal counsel from a car accident attorney. They can look at the facts surrounding your case and tell you if you might want to consider taking someone to court to collect the money that you deserve.
Step 10: Work Your Way Through the Recovery Process
Recovering from a car accident can be a long and arduous process. You may need to spend weeks getting your car repaired. You may also need to spend months in physical therapy rehabilitating an injury. You may even need to undergo surgery at some point.
It’s important for you to do all these things, but it’s just as important for you to be patient. You’re going to get frustrated at times while working your way through the recovery process. But as long as you stick with it, you should be able to heal nicely and pay off any bills associated with your car crash over time.
It’s Important to Take the Right Steps After a Car Accident
Right after a car accident takes place, your head is usually going to be spinning. You’re not going to know what in the world you’re supposed to do next.
You should start with the first step that we talked about here and then go from there. By going through all of the steps that we discussed in this guide, you can make sure that all your bases are covered.
Don’t skip any of the steps since it could put you into a tough position later on. You should be able to get yourself onto the road to recovery by following along with these steps and seeing them through to the end.
Browse through the other articles on our blog for more advice on how to handle car crashes.