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What To Do If You’ve Been In A Car Accident

Driving Tips
jason-baxtorJason Baxter

Car accidents are one of the most stressful things that can happen to you as a driver. So, if you are in an accident, the first thing you should do is take a few moments to make sure you are OK and try to keep yourself calm. It can help to know what steps you should take at the scene following the accident.

1. Immediately Following the Accident

Remain at the scene of the accident and do not move your car until you know it is safe to do so. If it is a serious accident and you or someone in your vehicle is hurt, or you know someone is hurt on the road or in another vehicle, call 911 if you can. Do not try to move someone who is injured. In cases, where the accident isn’t serious, you can do the following.

2. Check That Everyone in Your Vehicle is OK

Again, take your time and try to remain calm. it’s a mistake to rush out of the vehicle too quickly, only to find you are compounding an injury you didn’t notice — or putting yourself in more danger.

3. Turn on Your Hazard Lights

If they did not start automatically, turn on your hazard signals to alert other road users that you are in an emergency situation.

4. Check to See if it is Safe to Exit Your Vehicle

Check your mirrors and all around you for oncoming traffic or any other dangers that you might face if you open your door. When it appears safe to do so, open your door and exit the vehicle slowly. If not, remain in your vehicle.

If it is only a fender bender, where there is only minor damage to each vehicle and no injuries, you can move your vehicle to the side of the road when it is safe to do so.

5. Call the Police

Again, if there is an injury that needs immediate attention, call 911. Do not try to move anyone who seems badly injured. If injuries are minor, but vehicles appear to have significant damage, call police on their non-emergency line.

6. Get Information from Other Drivers

All drivers involved in the accident should get the following information from all the other drivers involved:

  • First and last name, address and contact information
  • License information
  • Their car insurance company and policy numbers
  • Their vehicle license plate

It’s important to speak calmly and avoid getting angry, defensive or accusatory. Don’t engage other drivers who are angry or agitated. If you are concerned for your safety, return to your vehicle and lock the doors.

Do not apologize, even if you really feel like doing so. Car accidents are often caused by conditions that are beyond your control. Even when you feel you did something wrong, it may not be your fault. If you apologize, or say that you are at fault, it can be used against you later as an admittance of guilt.

7. Get Witness Information

If there are witnesses to the accident and they are willing, get their contact information. Their input can be very valuable if the case goes to court.

8. Take Photos

Take as many photos as you can of the overall scene — including road conditions, the cars involved and detailed images of any damage incurred. Also try to get images of anyone who is injured.

9. Call Your Car Insurance Company

They should be very helpful if you have any questions or are unsure of what to do. If you don’t call your insurance company at the scene, you have seven days to file a claim with them if you choose to do so. if your car needs to be towed, your insurance company can help with that too. However

If this post was helpful, check out our article Got a Ticket for Failure to Remain at the Scene of an Accident?

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