Even though you practice safe driving habits, you may still find yourself involved in a car crash. Car crashes can be terrifying experiences, and sometimes, drivers are uncertain about the first actions they should take immediately following a crash. However, some of the actions you take at the scene of the crash can help you later on with an insurance claim or a potential lawsuit.
Address immediate safety concerns
The first thing you should do after any car crash is address any immediate safety concerns. This can include pulling your vehicle to a safer location if it is blocking traffic and putting on your hazard lights. It also includes checking over yourself for injuries and seeing if anyone else involved in the crash is injured.
The second thing you should do after a crash is seek the necessary help. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away and request an ambulance. Anyone who is injured or could be injured should receive immediate medical attention, but remember no one with a suspected spinal cord injury should be moved except by a trained medical professional. Moving someone with this kind of injury could cause the damage to become more severe.
You should also call the police, even if the accident is minor. Legally, you must notify law enforcement if someone is injured or killed or if property is damaged by a crash. Additionally, if a police officer responds to the incident, he or she will help gather information about the crash, which will be compiled in a police report. This can be helpful later, during the claims or legal processes.
Collecting information is the next action you should take after a crash. This includes exchanging information with the others involved in the accident, including:
- Contact information
- Driver’s license numbers
- License plate numbers
- Insurance companies
- Insurance policy numbers
It may also be beneficial to collect other notes about the incident. These may include where the accident took place, your recollection of the events and the contact information of any witnesses. Many people also keep cellphones with them when they drive. If you are one of these people, consider using it to take photos of the damage to vehicles and the scene of the accident.
Although there are several things you should do before leaving the scene of a crash, there are also several actions you should consider taking after you have permission to leave the scene. One of the most important follow-up actions is scheduling a medical examination. You should consider doing this even if you do not appear to be injured because some injuries may not be immediately obvious. However, a medical professional can help find injuries before they become more severe.
You should also notify your insurance agent about the accident. If you did not do that at the scene, you should reach out as soon as possible. Also, if law enforcement did not respond to the incident but the incident caused injuries or damages over $750, you must file a report of the crash within 10 days.
Car crashes can be unpredictable, but you can help yourself prepare for the possibility of a crash by familiarizing yourself with the actions you should take in the aftermath of one. Some of the actions you take after a car crash have the potential to help you during the claims process and during any lawsuit that may come as a result of the crash.