The moments immediately after a car accident can be frightening. You’re not sure if you or you passengers are okay and you may be very confused as to what just happened, especially if you didn’t see the collision coming. But what you do right after a car accident can be vital in determining the success you’ll have in recovering damages for your injuries and property damage. Here’s a checklist for an accident scene:
1. Secure Your Vehicle. If you can, drive the car to the side of the road or off the main road if possible without injury to yourself or further damage to the car.
2. Make sure you and your passengers are safe. If you are injured, don’t attempt to move or leave the vehicle. Call 911 to reach the police or emergency response services.
3. If you are uninjured, look for witnesses and get their contact information so that they can corroborate your story. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and be sure to take down the other vehicle’s license plate number, make, year and model. Also get the personal contact information of the driver.
4. Report your account of the accident to police, but do not admit fault. If the police ask you to sign a ticket, you must comply, but you do not have to accept responsibility on the scene.
5. Use your cell phone or camera to take pictures or video the accident scene, damage to your vehicle and others involved as well. Make a note of the time of the incident, weather and road conditions.
6. Call your insurance provider and report the accident.
7. Get a medical exam, even if you don’t feel like you’ve been injured. Some injuries take days to develop and you’ll need an exam to prove your injuries if you decide to hire a personal injury lawyer to recover damages later.