Here at Van Law Firm we know that being involved in a motor vehicle collision is hard for all parties involved and can be a traumatic experience. It is especially stressful immediately after the accident occurs. For many drivers, it is very difficult to think straight and consider what the necessary steps and precautions are after being in a car accident. Here we provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts while at the site of the incident.
What Do I Do After an Accident?
- See if Anyone is Hurt
Even if injuries are minor it is important that safety and medical treatment are your first priorities. Make sure that you and any passengers that are with you are not injured. Take note of how you and any passengers are feeling physically and mentally. Then, if you are able to, safely exit your vehicle to examine damages and to speak with the other driver(s) involved.
- Move to a Safe Area
If you are able to, safely exit your vehicle and move to a safe area where you are not blocking traffic or likely to be further injured. Leave all vehicles where they are until law enforcement arrives. If no one is injured and property damage is minimal, then push the vehicles to the side of the road where they won’t obstruct traffic.
- Contact the Police
Remember that police may not respond to all accidents, especially if they are minor or if they occur on private property. However, it is important to obtain a police report for documenting the accident if it is at all possible. If your case goes to court later, you may not remember all of the details of the accident.
- Recording Information
After you make sure that nobody is injured, either take a photo or write down the license plate number(s) of the other vehicle(s) involved, along with their make, model, year, and color. If you are able to, take pictures of the scene of the accident along with the damages of all vehicles involved.
It is important that you get a picture of the other driver’s license and that you write down their insurance carrier’s name and their policy number. A few other things you should try to get are the most up to date contact information for everyone involved in the crash, witness contact information, and, if the police are called to the scene, the name and badge number of the responding police officer.
- Avoid Arguments
Stress and emotions can be very high in the minutes following an accident. If the other driver appears aggressive, angry or impaired, trust your instincts and stay in your car. Be careful about interacting with someone emotionally charged as the situation could become violent or dangerous. Wait for the police to arrive.
- Call a Tow Truck
If you have a roadside assistance provider, you will want to contact them. Alternatively the police officer on scene could provide you with tow truck contact information. Tow truck providers can also be located via a quick search on your cell phone. A tow truck will not just “show up” at your scene without being requested. After you contact the tow company, it may take some time, sometimes an hour or more depending on the time of day, for the truck to arrive.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company can help you with your damages claim and can direct you on what steps you should take to get your vehicle repaired. Many insurance companies now have apps or websites where you can contact them and make your claim online.
- See your Doctor
It is common for you to feel fine after an accident but feel achy or sore a day or two later. Just like when you work out, muscle soreness may come on later. Head, neck and spine injuries can occur even in minor collisions, so if you have pain or other symptoms do not hesitate to seek treatment.
- Keep Good Records
Make sure you keep all of your medical records and insurance records organized. It is always a good idea to log all of your phone calls and interactions with the insurance companies (date, time and subject discussed) for later reference.
- Contact an Attorney
The accomplished and professional car accident attorneys at Van Law Firm are here to help you make your next moves and decisions after an accident occurs. Consultations are always free. Call and let us help you today!