After an auto accident, many people are in shock from the reality of the situation. It’s understandable to feel like you just want to leave the area and return to a more comfortable place. However, there are certain steps that you should take immediately following an accident. You’ll have a better outcome as a result.
Take Account of Your Injuries
The car has just come to a complete stop. Your head is still spinning from the shock of being struck. Before you do anything else, take account of your injuries. Carefully look at your body and surroundings. Mentally note any pain or injuries. If the accident was particularly rough, don’t move your head or back. Use your cellphone to contact emergency personnel. You always want to preserve your health before worrying about the vehicle or other people.
Move to a Safe Area
If your car can still function and you’re relatively unhurt, move the vehicle to the side of the road or into a nearby parking lot. You want to put yourself in the safest area possible. Cars passing by on a busy road can actually create another accident. You could be struck again. Signal your intentions to the other party so that they know to follow your lead. Everyone should stick together at this point.
Your emotions may be running hot as you finally emerge from the car. Injuries to your body and vehicle can bring up frustrating thoughts. Tell yourself to calm down as you meet the other party. They may be as irritated as you are. No situation can be rectified if everyone is upset and fails to communicate. Treat the situation as if it’s a professional scenario. You’ll be able to move through it and deal with your emotions later on.
Exchange information with the other driver. You’ll need their insurance information, driver’s license number, name, address and vehicle description. Ideally, don’t talk about the accident. There’s no need to figure out fault at this point. You don’t have a clear mind to think straight with stress and adrenaline coursing through your body. Verify all of the information so that the party can be contacted in the future. Fault can be figured out in the days to come.
Document the Scene
With nearly every cellphone equipped with a camera today, it’s easy to document the scene. After trading information, document the accident with several pictures. Take photos of the cars and the location. Capture wide views and closeups so that you have context for the images. These photos can be critical in the future if there are any legal ramifications. The images speak the truth.
Visit the Hospital
You may have a few scratches on your body after the accident. Skipping the hospital may be on your mind, but definitely see a doctor. Injuries that are difficult to see now may be apparent from a doctor’s perspective. Start your medical history involving the accident right now. By documenting your health, you have a better chance at having the other party pay for your damages. The person at fault usually bears the burden of covering any financial losses.
Contact Insurance and Legal Professionals
When you have a clean bill of health after the accident, contact your insurance about covering the vehicle. Your medical bills may also be a consideration. Contact your lawyer about the situation too. The accident may be a straightforward case, but your attorney can help you maneuver through any unusual circumstances. You must have your rights protected in these cases. Being unaware of certain laws can actually hurt you in the end.
Always use common sense when an accident occurs. Every situation will be unique. If you cannot complete every step as listed, simply do the best that you can. Remind yourself that this situation will pass as you recover both physically and financially with the help of your doctor and legal team.