What do you do after a car accident? This is a question many drivers ask themselves, but often not until after they’ve actually had the accident. As with most things, it’s better to ask what to do before the situation actually arises. Here are the questions you should always ask:
Is Anyone Hurt?
The first thing you should do is assess if anyone in your vehicle is in need of medical attention. If you aren’t sure if an injury is minor or severe, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and call an ambulance. Once you’ve checked on everyone in your car, look to see if anyone in the other car might be in need of assistance. They might be stuck or unconscious and unable to call for help.
Be sure to document any injuries. If you discover that you have medical costs or impairment associated with the accident, you’ll need to hire an auto injury attorney and file an accident injury claim. About 60% of personal injury lawsuits related to car accidents are successful.
What is the Damage to the Vehicles?
If no one is injured, move on to assessing vehicle damage. Even if you think the accident was your fault, don’t admit it or sign anything to that effect. This is important even if you were doing something clearly unsafe, such as speeding (the top cause of accidents in the U.S.). If the condition of the cars permits, move off the road to prevent further accidents. It’s a good idea to carry flares or cones in your trunk to alert other drivers that you’ve had an accident.
Smartphones make this much easier than it used to be, but you should always keep a pen, pad of paper and disposable camera in your trunk or glove compartment to take down the other driver’s information and document damages.
Are There any Special Circumstances to Consider?
You should always notify police of an accident, even if you think it was minor. Having a police report will allow any insurance or legal professionals who become involved to examine all the information, and failing to call the police can make it seem as if you have something to hide.
If there appear to be any special circumstances, you should take note of those too. For example, if one or more cars involved in the accident is a commercial vehicle or company car, workplace injury laws may apply. In that case, both employers and work injury attorneys might be involved. An average of 18 people per day die due to workplace injuries, so it’s important to know all your rights. If a commercial vehicle such as big rig was involved, you may want to consider truck accident lawyers, since commercial vehicles are governed by different laws than ordinary drivers.
What Do You Do After a Car Accident?
Your turn: What do you do after a car accident, if you’ve had one or more? Share your experience—including what you did and what you wish you’d done—in the comments.