5 things to do after a car accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), a car accident occurs every 60 seconds. That’s approximately 5.25 million accidents across the country each year.
If you are involved in a car accident it is important to know what to do to ensure everyone is safe, to comply with the law, and to have any insurance claim processed as smoothly as possible.
The following information can guide you through the action steps you need to take if you’ve been in a car accident, whether you were at fault or not.
Check for injuries
Check to see if you or any passengers in the car have been injured. If so, call 911 and wait for medical assistance to arrive.
If you are unhurt and able to, move your car to a safe place, such as the side of the road if it causes an obstruction or hazard where it is. If this can’t be done then leave the vehicle and get yourself and any other passengers to safety.
Exchange key information with the other driver which should include the full name and contact details of the other driver as well as their insurance company and policy number. Take note of their license plate number and the color, model, and type of car. Make note of the location of the accident and ask any witnesses present to provide their contact details.
Document the accident by taking pictures of the scene from different angles and include any damage done to both vehicles.
Photographic evidence can help establish how the accident happened and determine fault. Sharing the photos with your insurer will also help support your claims process as will images of any injuries you may have sustained.
Call the police
Depending on the seriousness of the accident, you may choose to report it to the police. This is sometimes required by your insurer as they will need a police report to process your claim.
Take down the names and badge numbers of the officers and ask where you can get a copy of the police report. Most police reports are publicly available and can be obtained upon request.
A police report also serves as reliable evidence from an unbiased third party helping to establish the details of the accident and liability of the party at fault.
Get medical attention
If you sustain any injuries from your accident it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Often, the injuries following a car accident will not be immediately apparent, for example, a concussion or back pain.
Keep copies of your medical records which may be required for health insurance purposes and will help to establish the cause of your injuries. Medical records before your accident can show you had no pre-existing condition for your injury and it occurred solely as a result of your accident. This will be vital evidence for your insurance claim.
Keep receipts for any medical bills and expenses such as physical therapy, prescriptions for medication, and any hospital visits you need to make. This will also assist the insurance adjusters in determining any payout.
Follow these five steps to protect yourself and your claim in the event of an accident.