Car accidents can be overwhelming; a million things are rushing through your mind but figuring out your next steps will help.
No matter how safely you drive, car accidents are sometimes unavoidable. However, depending on how well you handle the accident’s aftermath, you could potentially settle your claim without major issues and recover damages for any injuries you’ve suffered.
Here is a checklist of what to do before, during, and after the accident.
Before the Accident:
- Be Prepared: Give the proper maintenance that your car deserves. Also, you should always carry the following necessary items in your vehicle to avoid any penalties and inconvenience.
- Have your documents on hand: You will likely need your insurance card, driver’s license, and registration with you or in your vehicle.
- Keep a safety kit in your vehicle. You can find one at most major stores or online. A basic one should include a flashlight, batteries, a multipurpose utility tool, jumper cables, etc.
During the Accident Scene:
Make sure you and the rest of the passengers are okay. Stay calm and cooperate with others. Here are some essential steps to take at the accident scene to protect your rights.
- Call 911
- Call the police so that they file a report. It is best to do it immediately to get accurate information.
- Move the vehicles to the side of the road if the accident is minor, and turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights.
- Gather evidence: Take photos of the damage and surrounding area, if possible.
- Ask for information on other drivers who may be responsible for the accident. Get their name, address, contact number, insurance company name, and policy number.
- Talk to witnesses and get their information.
- Call your insurance company and personal injury lawyer.
- Do not sign any papers (unless it’s for the police).
- Do not admit fault or discuss the incident.
- Do not allow your license or registration to be photographed by others.
- Do not leave the accident scene until the police and other drivers do.
After the accident:
- Get a copy of the accident report.
- Keep detailed notes on your injuries and and related physical and mental conditions.
- Track your medical treatment.
- Get a property damage valuation.
- File the claim with the help of your lawyer.