No one plans to get into a car accident, but sometimes they happen despite your best efforts to drive safely. It’s very important to stay as calm as possible after an accident and to handle the situation as rationally as possible. The following are the seven actions you should take immediately following any type of car accident, even a minor one.
1. Remain at the Scene
No matter where you have to be, you have to remain at the scene of an accident until the authorities show up. This includes even minor accidents where no one is injured. Driving away, even if you weren’t at fault, is against the law and can make you liable for civil and criminal charges.
2. Assess Damages and Call the Police
Your first priority is to see if anyone in your vehicle or the other vehicle has been injured. You should then call the police and/or an ambulance and describe what happened. Regardless of the seriousness of the accident, it’s necessary to fill out a police report for your insurance company.
3. Photograph Any Damages
If possible, you should take pictures of the scene. This will document any damages that have occurred and prevent the other driver from making false claims.
4. Exchange Information With the Other Driver
You should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If he or she refuses to cooperate, wait for the authorities. If the other person drives away, make note of the vehicle’s license plate.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
You should notify your insurance company right away if you’ve been in any kind of accident. Waiting too long can affect your ability to collect on a claim.
6. Seek Medical Attention
It’s always a good idea to seek medical attention after an accident, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured. Certain types of injuries, such as whiplash, don’t always show up right away. A doctor can examine you thoroughly and take X-rays to make sure you haven’t been internally injured.
7. Contact an Attorney
You never know what the legal consequences of an accident might entail. An attorney who specializes in auto accidents can defend you from legal charges or in case the other driver sues you (Source: Owen Law Firm). He or she can also help you make a case if the other driver was at fault.
Car accidents are upsetting events but quite common all the same. If you stay calm and follow the above recommendations, you can keep any medical, legal and financial repercussions to a minimum.
This article is from Lizzie Weakley, a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. She enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her three-year-old husky Snowball.