What to Do In a Car Accident: A Complete Guide
Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in the US, followed by drunk driving and speeding.
If you want to stay safe behind the wheel, you know how important it is to avoid the above risk factors. However, even the most careful of drivers can find themselves in a car accident, due to someone else’s negligence.
While you’ll hopefully never be involved in a car accident, do you know what to do if you are? If not, keep reading to learn everything that needs to be done after a car accident.
Move Your Car to a Safe Place
After a car crash, what’s the first thing you should do? Try to move your car off the road and into a safe place, like a breakdown lane or a parking lot.
This will stop your car from blocking the flow of traffic, but will also make it safer for you to exit the vehicle.
Of course, if the car can’t be driven, you can stay in the car and wait for the police and a tow truck, as they’ll help you move to safety.
Remember that it’s also essential to never leave the scene of an accident, as it’s a crime.
Call the Police
One of the first steps to take after a car crash is to call the police. Even if the accident is minor, a police report is needed, as your insurance company will want to see it.
Also, tempers can often flare in car accidents, so having an officer on hand can help keep the peace. If any witnesses saw the car accident occur, the police might speak to them and also take down their contact details.
Sometimes, it can be hard to determine who was at fault in an accident, so the testimony of an unbiased witness can go a long way.
Seek Medical Care
If you’ve been in a car accident, seek medical care right away. Even if you feel fine, your body has just been through a traumatic experience and you might not even realize that you’ve been injured.
The paramedics on the scene should be there to help and will take you to the hospital if it’s required.
Want to reduce your chances of being seriously in a car accident? If so, the best thing you can do is always wear your seatbelt—it can literally save your life.
Exchange Details With the Other Driver
Before leaving the scene, take a few minutes to exchange details with the driver of the other car. Your insurance companies will need to contact one another to discuss the accident, so you’ll want this information so you can pass it on to them.
Make sure to get the full name of the other driver, plus their license plate number and their insurance policy details. If the driver is uninsured, still get their name and license plate numbers as your insurer will need to follow up.
Take Photos of the Scene
Once you leave the accident scene, it’s gone forever! This is why it’s important to always take a few photos and videos, using your phone, of the accident location.
Take some photos of your car, clearly showing any damage. Also, if there are any special factors that might have contributed to the accident, such as wet roads, broken stoplights, or traffic jams, try to capture these as well.
This information will help your insurer settle the claim and can also be useful if your accident ends up having to be settled in court.
Call Your Insurance Company
Once you’re back home and safe, call your auto insurance company as soon as possible to report the claim. They’ll assess your car for damages and will be able to issue you a check for your claim.
This should cover the costs of your car repairs and any medical bills. However, if you’re in need of your reimbursement right away, car accident settlement loans can be a big help.
If you weren’t at fault in the accident, then no need to worry, as this won’t impact your premiums. If you were at fault, there’s a chance that your monthly premiums might slightly increase.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Sometimes, it can be hard to determine which driver was at fault in the accident. In these circumstances, the case is likely to be settled by a judge in court.
If your case is going to court, it’s helpful to hire a car accident lawyer to help you out. Navigating the court process can be confusing, so you’ll have the best chance of a positive outcome with an experienced lawyer by your side.
Protect Yourself After a Car Accident With This Guide
Hopefully, you’ll never find yourself in a car accident—it can be a frightening situation. But if it does happen to you, the advice above can help you know what to expect.
If you do everything correctly after your accident, you can look after your health and expenses quickly, helping you get your car repaired so you’re back on the road sooner.
If you know any newer drivers, it can be helpful to share this article with them as well, so they know more about how to stay safe and prepared on the roads.
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