After being in a car accident, you may want to scream, cry, get angry, flee the scene, and a whole range of other actions. There are some things you should do and some that you shouldn’t. The following are four steps you should always take after your accident.
1. Stay at the Scene
Fleeing the scene of your accident won’t just make you look bad — it is also against the law in most states. Even if your accident is only a minor fender bender, you need to stay there until you have been cleared to leave by the responding police officer.
2. Report the Accident
Call 911 to report that the accident happened and to ask for help. Let the dispatcher know where the accident took place, as well as how many people were injured in the accident. He or she can then send the right number of paramedics. A police officer will also be dispatched to the scene of the accident so that he or she can take your account of the accident. When giving details to the officer, only give factual information. If you’re unsure about something, don’t take a wild guess, just tell the officer you’re unsure.
3. Gather Evidence
You’ll probably want evidence of what happened, so be sure you either gather it yourself or ask someone to do it on your behalf. You should take pictures of the vehicles, the surrounding area, street signs, the weather and anything else that could impact your insurance claim or lawsuit. You should also gather contact information from the other driver, passengers and any witnesses. They will probably all give a statement to the police officer, so obtain a copy of that report as well.
4. Accept Medical Care
You won’t always know you have an injury from your car accident. Some will be obvious, with open wounds and broken bones, and some could be less so. You might have an internal bleeding or other damage that you can’t see from the outside and you can’t feel right away. For this reason, it’s important to accept medical care at the scene. If the paramedics feel you should go to the hospital, you need to go. If not, you should still schedule a follow up appointment with your primary care physician in the next few days.
Contact an Attorney
Your car accident situation might include a fight with the insurance company or a fight with the responsible party.