Crash Course: What to Do If You’ve Been in an Auto Accident

If you’ve been in a car accident, it can be hard to think straight. We take a look at the most important things you need to do after being in an auto accident.

Over 1 million people are involved in car accidents per year, and those accidents claim the lives of over 3,000 of them. 

While auto accidents are prevalent, you might be so overwhelmed at the time to think clearly. Who do I call after a car accident? What happens now?

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ensure your experience is less traumatic. Here’s everything you need to know about what happens after a car accident.

I’ve Been in An Auto Accident: What Now?

Being involved in a car accident is unnerving, but it’s important to remain calm and remember this approach. Here are nine steps to follow so you know what to do after a car accident. 

  1. Stop

Always stop, pull over if you need to and examine the damage. Even if the damage is small, driving away could cause you greater problems.

It’s critical to stop if someone is injured. Call 911 if there’s significant damage and people are hurt. Refrain from trying to move someone because medical professionals know how to do it properly. 

  1. Do Not Admit Fault

Although saying, “I’m sorry, this is all my fault” sounds polite, in this case, it isn’t. If you carry insurance, the company hashes it out for you. Apologizing creates a liability and could be used against you.

Avoid talking about the accident altogether with the other party involved. Doing so opens the door to speculation about what happened.

  1. Stay Calm

Accidents are scary sometimes, even small ones. Staying calm during the situation can assist you in thinking through what you need to do and avoid becoming too emotional about where you cannot think. 

  1. Call the Police

Having the police there to communicate with each party is wise, no matter how large the accident may be. Answer the questions to the best of your ability, providing facts and not guesses. Doing so will help them understand more about how the crash occurred.

In some cases, the police will not respond to the accident. If this happens, be sure to exchange insurance information and contact your insurance company later. Here’s what you’ll need to collect:

  • Driver’s name
  • Driver’s address
  • Driver’s contact information
  • Driver’s insurance company and policy number
  • Description of the vehicle such as the make, year, model, and license plate number
  • Write down the date, time, and place of the accident as well

Be sure to get in touch with your insurance company that day while the incident is fresh in your mind. 

  1. Take Pictures

Sometimes the police will take photographs, but it’s okay to do it for your documentation.

Take pictures of the damage, roads, condition of the roads, location, injuries, and so one. If the police are busy photographing the scene, try and take photos later that day. Snapping photos of all four sides of the vehicle as well as the interior is recommended. 

Be sure to keep everything in a file for your records in case you need to find it at a later date.

  1. Look Yourself Over for Injuries

Adrenaline rushes through you after an accident, and sometimes you’re unsure if you’ve suffered any injuries. Many people don’t feel hurt until much later after the crash. Having a doctor examine you for even the slightest damage is helpful to your case, especially if you need to file an injury claim. 

It’s especially vital to not say that you’re not hurt, especially since some injuries are not as easily detected. Making that claim could hurt you if your case ends up going to court. Always allow a physician to give you an examination and conclude whether or not you suffered injuries.

  1. Seek a Personal Injury Lawyer

If your injuries are significant and causing you great physical and emotional pain, you may want to find a car accident lawyer. These lawyers offer you legal advice in regards to your case. They can help you decide if you’re eligible for a settlement.

Hiring a personal attorney also protects the evidence and makes certain that it’s portrayed correctly.

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company

Your insurance company is key to helping resolve your claim. They work with other insurance companies to work out the details of the accident. Settling the details on your own or with the other driver is risky because you depend on an individual to hold up their part of the agreed upon amount, or they give you false contact information leaving you out of luck. 

Many people have concerns about their insurance rates increasing after an accident, and this is why they set out to diffuse the problem themselves. Some policies offer accident forgiveness, or if the accident isn’t your fault, your rates will stay consistent. 

  1. Repair Your Car

Unless it’s completely totaled, be sure to take your car in for necessary repairs. Not fixing your vehicle causes it to decrease in value and also sets it up for significant damage in the future. Your insurance company can recommend repair shops or should have one that they work with.

Hands at 10 and Two: You’ve Got Control

Being in an auto accident is never planned, but you can have a plan when and if it happens. Following these nine steps gives you information and tools to take charge when accidents occur.

Are you looking for more information on car safety? We’ve got you covered! Visit our page to learn everything you need to know about how to stay safe in a vehicle. 

Author: Brandon Park