Often after an accident, no matter how severe or minimal the accident, you’re mentally rattled and flustered. It is essential to familiarize yourself with these action steps you can take if you are ever in a car accident so you can minimize the stress of the situation and feel confident that you know how to handle it.
11 Action Steps to Take If You Are in a Car Accident
1. Stay at the Scene of the Accident
Never leave the scene of an accident. Unless there is an imminent danger for you to remain there, stay on the scene until police arrive. In some states, you could face severe criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.
2. Check on All Involved Parties
Make sure everyone involved is alright and seek medical attention for anyone who needs it.
3. Call the Police
Immediately after your car accident, call the police and file a police report if there is property damage, physical injury or death.
4. Exchange Information
Get information including names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license information, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all involved parties including any passengers.
5. Never Admit Liability
Do not discuss the cause of the accident, or who may have been at fault. Even a brief conversation could help an adverse party hold you legally liable for the accident. Remember, anything you say can be used against you in any subsequent case.
6. Stay Off Social Media!
Don’t post anything on social media! At the time an accident first happens, you may not know if there will be a lawsuit or not. Any posts on social media, even if it seems like it is unrelated to the accident, can be used in litigation. Anything you post can be used against you, just like anything you say, and you cannot foresee how a post might become a problem until it’s too late.
7. Talk to Witnesses
Gather some information about any possible witnesses. Ask people what they saw and be sure to get their names and contact information including their phone number(s), address, and even an e-mail address if they have one.
8. Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company and relay the facts of the accident.
9. Take Pictures
Take photos of any damage to all vehicles involved as soon as possible after the accident.
10. Keep Track of Any Medical Treatment Pertaining to the Accident
When an accident first happens, you won’t know whether you’ll end up needing to file a lawsuit. Just in case you need to file a lawsuit down the road keep a detailed account of all doctors or other medical providers you see, any treatments they give you, or tests you have, and/or medications you receive due to the accident. Make sure also to keep detailed information on any time you have to miss from work, any events or activities you could not participate in due to your accident, and anything you usually do that you have had to outsource to someone else, regardless of whether you pay them or not.
11. Consider Hiring an Attorney
If anyone was injured in the accident, consult an experienced attorney. An experienced attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you’re hurt or better defend yourself if you’re at fault. Don’t discuss the incident with anyone, especially another insurance company without the knowledge of your attorney.