A car accident can be a difficult situation no matter how minor. The important thing to remember is that car accidents happen all the time, and your safety is the highest concern after an accident occurs. Worry about caring for yourself first, and then you can determine how to care for the car and sort out the situation with your insurance company. Since car accidents can often leave you disoriented and in shock, it’s important to prepare beforehand to know what to do after a car accident. The following steps should all be taken directly after an auto accident occurs:
1. Analyze the Damage to the Car and Personal Injuries
While remaining as calm as possible, analyze the vehicle for any new damages that occurred as a result of the auto accident. Major injuries will most likely manifest themselves right away, but you should always be sure to check for minor injuries on your person as well. These injuries might include bumps, scratches, bruises and mild pain in any area of the body. If it’s possible, try to document these damages and injuries with a cell phone camera, digital camera or any other recording device you may have on you.
2. File a Report
Call your local police station (or just dial 911 if you don’t have the number on hand) and file a report for the accident to ensure it is properly recorded. Limit the conversation to general details and avoid talking about fault or liability of any parties involved until you discuss the auto accident with your insurance agent first. Be sure to call your insurance agent right after you call the police to file your claim as quickly as possible.
3. Limit Your Discussion of the Auto Accident
An exciting event like an auto accident may be tempting to talk about with all your friends or post on Twitter, but the most practical thing to do after the accident is to only discuss the information with the police and your insurance agent. This ensures that nothing you say in a shocked state of mind will be used against you and possibly limit the amount of insurance you are qualified for. Bringing others into the situation not only exacerbates it, but this will also confuse you in terms of what really happened.
- All damage to your vehicle.
- Damage to other accident vehicle(s).
- Relationship to intersection or lane, if needed
- Street name(s) and address of accident location.
- Any situation that helps you describe the accident more clearly.