Everyone goes through a lot of driver’s education to learn how to operate passenger vehicles safely on the roadways. Like most people, you also probably drive very carefully to avoid being in an accident. Still, you can wind up in one anytime you get behind the wheel. Knowing the things to do first after a car accident helps you manage the moments immediately afterward.
Make Sure Everyone Is Okay
Your primary responsibility after a car accident is making sure everyone is okay. Check yourself first, and then look to any passengers you have. Once you know everyone in your vehicle is okay or has medical attention coming, check with anyone in the other vehicles involved. If someone is injured, have them stay put until EMS shows up, unless the vehicle itself is in danger of some sort, such as fire.
Summon the Proper Authorities
A minor fender-bender might not mean you need an ambulance when everyone seems fine. However, you should at least summon the local law enforcement. A police report is usually necessary to file an insurance claim, as most any auto accident attorney will tell you. You might also need a tow truck to remove vehicles not safe or capable of being driven off from the scene.
Exchange identifying and insurance information with the other driver before anyone leaves the scene. Get a copy of the police report number, and talk to any witnesses present for their point of view and recollections. Photos of the scene are great, and videos of witness interviews are also effective evidence.
Have Yourself Checked Out
Whether you feel okay or not, get yourself checked out by a medical professional. That might mean being looked over by EMTs at the scene, visiting an ER or urgent care center, or making an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. Some injuries won’t manifest physically until later, and you need to document your health in case you file a claim against someone for injuries.
Some drivers go decades without having an accident, and you might just be one of them. However, your next accident can be the next time you drive. Keeping these things in mind will enable you to deal with your next accident, should it ever actually happen. Protect yourself and your passengers before and after any incident on the road.
Author information: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter: @RachelleWilber