Although avoiding an accident is sometimes unavoidable, there are certain steps you should always take and things you should never do after an accident. Once a vehicle crash happens, it’s important to follow a process for your safety and the safety of those involved.
Even if an accident is not your fault, it’s still important to report the accident to the authorities, provide and gather proper documentation and follow-up after the crash in order to make sure your rights, and the rights of others, are well taken care of in the long run.
1. Never Lose Your Cool
A car accident is an extremely emotional and stressful experience. In the moment, your adrenaline is pumping and intensity levels are high. However, it’s still important to maintain your wits and stay as calm as possible, especially never react with anger or blame.
First things first, always make sure everyone involved is okay. Take a few deep breaths and gather your composure, so you can make a proper assessment of what happened. Even if you believe the crash was your fault, never admit blame. Doing so could expose you to a lawsuit.
2. Never Leave the Scene of an Accident
You could be in a situation where you just bumped into another car in a parking lot, or you tapped another vehicle’s bumper at a redlight. Some people may believe that it should be okay to simply drive off, especially if there is no visible property damage or injuries. Think again.
Regardless of how serious an accident is, you should always stop to make sure everyone involved is okay, exchange insurance and contact information, and make a report to the authorities. In some states, it’s a crime to leave the scene of an accident. For your own good, stick around and follow up.
3. Never Skip Calling 911
Imagine a scenario where you and another driver are in a wreck and because no one seems injured, you simply exchange insurance information and are on your way. Later you discover that the other driver’s insurance card has expired, they have no coverage, and now you’re stuck with all the repair bills.
Calling 911 and making a police report is essential to documenting exactly what happened, maintaining thorough records, and receiving the proper compensation for your property repairs and medical bills. You’ll need all this information when contacting an auto accident injury lawyer in the bay area for help.
4. Never Forget to Gather Documentation and Details
Now that you’ve reported the accident to the proper authorities, you’ll want to make sure you gather all the information you’ll need as well. Try to find out exactly what happened to cause the crash in the first place. This will come in handy later when trying to figure out who is responsible.
In addition to driver’s license numbers, insurance cards, and license plate numbers, you’ll also want photos of the crash scene, testimonies from any witnesses, and make and model of the vehicles involved. There is no such thing as too much information or documentation.
5. Never Neglect Following Up
First and foremost, seek emergency medical attention for any injuries after an accident. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, it’s important to see a doctor for a full medical exam. Issues could arise later on and having these records will be of great benefit.
Immediately report the accident to your insurance company and get your vehicle to a repair shop. You might have to stay on top of both in order to get your car fixed quickly so you can get back to normal faster.