Being in a car accident generally brings with it a great deal of chaos and confusion, which can make it difficult to think clearly. Here is a checklist of five things you want to immediately do following an accident. Sometimes you may do these things in order, sometimes not, but they are all important following an accident. You may want to print it out and keep it in your car along with your insurance information.
Make Sure No One is Injured
Because your adrenaline may be high, it may mask any pain you might feel that would generally let you know you’ve been injured. Do a quick but thorough full-body check to inspect for any places that might be painful to the touch and have anyone else in your car do the same. Also check to make sure no one in the other car was injured or any pedestrians. If anyone seems to be injured in any way, call emergency responders immediately.
Move Vehicles Someplace Safe
Whenever possible, you want to get your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and turn on your hazard lights. Single vehicle accidents have a way of becoming multi-car pileups when accidents impede traffic. Be sure to help others involved get to a safe spot if you can.
Determine Whether to Call the Police
In most states, it is up to you whether to call the police after an accident. You will want to file a police report within 24 hours, but whether you call them to the scene or not depends on whether anyone is injured, the severity of the accident, whether you are impeding traffic, and the demeanor or condition of the other driver. If you suspect the other driver is impaired in any way, you might want to call the police to confirm.
Exchange Insurance Information and Take Pictures
Do be sure and give the other party your insurance information and get theirs, but do not give them any personal information like your home address or cell phone number. That’s what insurance companies are for. Also take pictures of any and all damage to both vehicles. That way, if they incur damage later or had previous damage to another part of their car, they can’t claim it was part of this accident.
Consider Calling an Attorney
If anyone has been injured, if you suspect the other driver is impaired in any way, or if you are at-fault for the accident, you may want to call a car accident attorney immediately. You may not end up needing an attorney in the end, but like the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
It is often hard to think clearly after you’ve been in an accident. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly prepare yourself ahead of time for what to do if you are. Keep this checklist on hand to refer to in case of an accident.