There are several steps a person should follow after a car accident in order to avoid physical or legal trouble. By carefully going through these instructions, people in car accidents will know how to move forward after a crash as efficiently as possible.
After a crash, the first thing for victims to do is to check for injuries. The driver will first want to look themselves over for cuts or signs of head injuries, like dizziness or fatigue. Once the victim is confident he or she is unhurt, he or she should turn his or her attention to the passengers and investigate their injuries.
Once the driver has assessed the damage to himself or herself and the passengers, he or she should move the car to safety at the side of the road if it is in an unsafe place. If the driver is unable to move the car, then all persons involved should move aside to a safer location, such as the side of the road or a nearby sidewalk.
The accident could be a head-on collision or a minor fender-bender. Regardless of its severity, both drivers will want to speak with the authorities. In some states, it is required by law that drivers in an accident call the police to the site.
Officers will come to the crash and complete an accident report. If police officers cannot go to the scene of the accident, the drivers may be responsible for going to the nearest police station to complete the report there. It is helpful to remember that when a driver fills out a claim with their insurer, they may want a copy of the police report.
After dialing 9-1-1, responsible drivers will approach the other driver involved and exchange insurance and contact information. Some of the information to include could be:
- Full name and phone number
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Details about the car, including its type, color, and model
- Accident location
It is best not to assign blame for the accident during these early discussions. When a driver files an insurance claim, an adjuster will review it and determine who to put at fault based on an inspection and the information provided.
Drivers can protect themselves from future legal or insurance trouble by thoroughly documenting the accident. Some bits of documentation a driver might want to include are the names and badge numbers of responding officers, a copy of the police report or accident report number, photographs of the scene, dashcam footage, information of other involved parties, and witness contact information/testimony. Drivers should make sure to keep everything carefully filed away so that nothing is lost during the claims process.
Drivers should contact their insurance company when they are at the scene, or as soon as possible thereafter. This will help to preserve evidence and gather the necessary information to start their claim.