What Should You Do After Getting Into a Car Accident?
Every year in the United States, there are around 6 million car accidents. Many accidents lead to trauma and injuries, and about 2 million drivers suffer long-term injuries every year.
Whether it’s a fender bender or a serious crash, getting into a car accident is traumatic. Plus, many drivers are left not knowing what to do or how to act in the event of an accident.
Your body releases endorphins for pain relief and adrenaline for strength, which is why people feel worked up or pain-free after an injury occurring from an accident.
The best way to prepare yourself for a potential crash is to know what to do when you’re on the scene. Keep reading to learn what steps you should take after getting into a vehicle accident.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
More often than not, accidents occur in the middle of the road. If you can, move any damaged vehicles out of traffic and off to the side of the road or in another safe place.
Put your vehicle in park, turn it off, and turn on your hazard lights.
Don’t stand in the road but rather out of the way until help arrives.
Check for Injuries and Get Help
Immediately following an accident, take a quick look to see if anyone is seriously injured. If they are, call 911 before you move cars out of the way, especially if the injuries are life-threatening.
If the incident was minor, it’s still a good idea to seek medical attention either immediately or after the police have arrived. Call the police even if it was only a fender bender. It’s always best to have an official police report when making an insurance claim.
Document the Crash and Exchange Information
While you do want to obtain information from other drivers, it’s best not to do so yourself. You shouldn’t admit fault or interact with other drivers at all if you can help it. Even if you feel the accident was your fault, it’s typically too early to make any determinations, which is why it’s best not to say anything at that moment.
When the police arrive at the scene, they’ll obtain driver information and exchange it for you. Make sure that you get as much information as possible, including:
- Driver’s names and contact information
- Vehicle descriptions and license plates
- Insurance information (including policy numbers)
- Driver’s license numbers
- Accident location and address
- Police officers’ names and badge numbers
- Any eyewitnesses names and contact information
Most importantly, take as many photographs as you can of the accident. Take photos of all vehicles involved from all different angles, additional photos containing street signs and location in the background, and photos of any injuries sustained.
Take note of whether there are any cameras around as you or your lawyer may want to revisit the scene later for additional footage.
Seek Medical Attention
If you didn’t already seek medical attention for obvious injuries, it’s still a good idea to see a doctor after a crash.
Endorphins and adrenaline rush through your body in the event of an accident. As a result, many car accident victims don’t realize they’re injured until hours or even days later.
Seek medical attention and be sure to tell your doctor about the accident so that they can perform an accurate assessment of your physical state.
Start an Insurance Claim
Find out what kind of insurance coverage you have and start your claims process. What gets covered and who covers it depends on who was at fault and what kind of insurance both you and the other driver have.
If the other driver was at fault, any property damage liability insurance would pay for your car’s repairs up to the policy holder’s limit. Your medical bills would be covered up to the other driver’s bodily injury liability coverage, too. There are 12 no-fault states, though, in which your own personal injury protection covers the cost of medical bills.
If you don’t have any personal injury protection or medical insurance, then your medical bills could end up being your financial responsibility.
If the other driver was at fault but didn’t have an active insurance policy, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay for your losses, if you have selected that coverage on your insurance policy and will cover up to the selected amount chosen within the policy.
Call your insurance company and begin the claim process. If the accident was complicated, don’t make any official statements about potential injuries without first seeking medical attention and talking to your lawyer.
If the other driver’s insurance company makes you an offer, don’t take it without talking to your lawyer about medical bills and pain and suffering that could continue to affect you well into the future.
Shop Around for New Car Insurance Rates
What happens with your insurance after an accident depends on who was at fault and the types of coverage the other driver and you have.
If you were at fault in the accident, your insurance rates could rise significantly. Depending on the insurance company and the severity of your car accident, it might be a good idea to shop around for new rates.
Some insurance companies almost double rates after an at-fault accident. Shop around and look for better rates. Opt for options like bundling home insurance, too, which could save you money on your premium.
Car accidents are overwhelming, and the idea of having to look for new insurance is daunting. Use a company that will shop for all the best rates and provides you with a list you can choose from. You can either shop for quotes online or call and speak to a representative.
Check All Your Boxes After a Car Accident
In the event of a car accident, remember to breathe. Once you’re in a safe place and you’ve determined you can wait to seek medical attention, call the police.
Document the scene by taking plenty of photographs, and gather as much information as you can.
Once you’ve talked to your insurance company and made a claim, be sure to explore other rates to make sure you’re still getting a great deal on your car insurance.
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