Getting in a car accident is devastating and traumatic. What should you do after a car accident? How should you respond for your safety, as well as anyone else involved?
After the accident happens, you need to take a look around your car and check yourself for injuries and any pain that you might have. You need to be sure to take care of yourself first and make sure that the scene is safe. You should turn off the car and try to exit the vehicle if it is safe to do so and help any of your passengers to get out of the wreck. After this, check that there aren’t any fuel leaks or other dangers like broken glass. Your safety is the first priority!
You should call 911 and get emergency assistance as quickly as you can if there are injuries, and even if there are no injuries, you sometimes still need to file a police report. At this point, if you and your passengers don’t have any injuries, you can check on other drivers who may be involved. Approach their vehicle carefully, being sure to check for dangers again. Make sure the other driver is ok and then find a safe place to wait for any emergency responders to arrive.
The police officer or sheriff who responds will need to establish fault in the accident for insurance reasons. You should never admit to fault to the other person, because they may try to use this against you with the police officer. While most people are honest, it is best to be safe and not say too much until law enforcement arrives. You will need to have your license and registration for the officer, so be sure to have them ready. You will need to consider all the following information:
- Names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses of all occupants and witnesses
- Photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved
- Company name, policy number and phone number for other insurance companies
- If emergency services respond: police report number, phone number, officer name and badge number, etc.
Once you have taken care of all of these, you can head home and collect yourself. It can be traumatic to be in a car accidents, so it is sometimes best to take a little time to collect your thoughts and reflect. Within the first 24 hours or so you should contact your insurance company as well as the other person’s insurance company if this is applicable. It is always good to get your side of the story recorded with the insurance companies while it is still fresh in your mind.