Even for the most skilled driver, accidents happen. You break too late, forget to yield or get distracted for a minute. It happens to the best of us. What should you do right after you get in a car accident though? Pull over? Call an ambulance? Is getting their phone number enough information? Do I need to hire a lawyer? Let’s talk through exactly what should be done when a car accident occurs.
The first thing you should do if you are involved in a car accident is to check for any injuries sustained personally or by others. If someone is injured, or you are unsure if someone is injured, you need to call 911. Make sure if someone has an injury to their neck or back that you don’t move them, wait for the ambulance to come and take care of it—you may end up injuring the person more if you try to move them. If it is only a fender bender, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic. If no one is injured, call a non-emergency line and request to file a police report.
It is often suggested to not admit fault. You can still be kind and polite, but you should never assume full responsibility without consulting with a personal injury lawyer first. Often times, people get flustered after accidents and end up taking the blame for the accident even if it was not their fault. For example, if you are rear-ended, you might say it is your fault because you slammed on your breaks. However, the law says it is the other person’s fault because they did not give you enough space. Statements of fault can really impact your claim; taking blame puts you at risk of paying for the accident even when it is not your fault.
You will also need to collect information from a number of people. First, the other driver. You will need to get contact information, the driver’s license number, license plate number, and basic insurance details. Getting their phone number is not enough! The more information you get, the safer you will be. It will also help you to get information from witnesses. The last step of information-gathering, request the name and badge number of the police officer on the scene.
Taking good photos of the accident is also beneficial. Be sure to take detailed pictures of all the damage to vehicles and surrounding objects. For the best coverage, you need to make sure to give all the information and pictures to your insurance company and personal injury lawyer.
Car accidents can be very scary for everyone involved. Even when you are driving safely, an accident can strike you. By following these steps when an accident happens, you can avoid unnecessary further troubles and fees.