Getting into an accident can be an extremely traumatic experience. Even if it’s just a fender bender, it will throw your entire day off and create extra stress on you. Because of this, it’s important to understand the steps to take after an accident before you get into an accident. If you know what to do, you will feel more in control and be able to make decisions easier.
1. Check to make sure you are not injured
If you or anyone else has been injured by the accident or recognize that you were just in a major accident, call 911 or ask someone else to call for you. If you have any pain at all, play it safe and be checked out by a medical professional. Accidents can cause serious injuries, many of which may not present themselves until days, weeks or months later. Although there are some ways to help reduce your risk of injury, accidents frequently cause injuries. According to the 2012 California Statewide Integrated Traffic Systems (SWITRS), there were nearly 160,000 injury collisions resulting in over 226,000 people injured.
2. Get witnesses
It doesn’t matter how small or large an accident is, make sure you find people who witnesses the accident and get their contact information. Even if you end up not needing them, it’s always better to have their information in case you do need them to testify or make a statement regarding the accident.
3. Take pictures and video of the accident scene
Most people have cameras on their cell phones now. Use that camera to take as many pictures of the scene as you can from as many different angles as you can. Even use the video function to show where you are on the street, which way each car was heading when it happened and how the vehicles ended up where they stopped.
4. Get the other driver’s information
It’s extremely important to get the other driver’s information. This should include their name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, insurance information, license plate number, car registration and owner of the vehicle. If there was anyone else in their car, you should get their name and contact information as well for witnesses. A quick way to document all of this is to take pictures of the front and back of each document they give (driver’s license, insurance card, car registration) you so you don’t write down a number or name incorrectly.
5. Contact an attorney
After you have been in an accident, it’s important to contact an experienced auto accident attorney. Explain what happened and how it has affected you. They will be able to help you understand the next steps to take. Additionally, they can help you determine if any legal actions are necessary.
If you have been in an accident and have questions about what to do next, or feel that the insurance company isn’t giving you adequate compensation, please contact us at 800-676-5295.