6 Tips on What to do Immediately Following a Car Accident

A car accident can be a traumatic experience.  Many people find they are rattled and unable to think clearly right after a car accident.  Still others don’t know what to do immediately after.  Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts after a car accident.  Some of these do’s and don’ts are to protect you.  It is hard to prepare for an accident, obviously. We don’t go out and expect to be in an accident. Here are some of the things that can be done when you find yourself in such a situation.

1. Always keep a first aid kit handy. First thing that probably should be done is to make sure that you are safe. Walk on a straight line to make sure there is no brain injury or concussion. In case you or anyone else is injured, call an ambulance. Move people with minor injuries away from accident spot and provide basic first aid. Remember, if anyone is seriously wounded then do not try move him as it can make the condition worse. This might aggravate their condition.

It’s also a good idea to keep a pair of scissors in the car in case you need to cut someone’s seat belt, especially kids in car seats.  After an accident you may be shaken and you may need to get a child out of the car quickly.  Fumbling with the seat belt may take you longer than normal given the situation.

2. Call police if needed. Calling the police and getting them to come to the accident scene is really important.  The police can ensure that everything is documented properly and that all accounts of the accident are recorded properly. Relying on your own memory, or that of the other driver, is not a good idea if there are injuries.  All too often stories change after the accident and you may find yourself fighting an uphill battle because the other driver doesn’t want to admit fault.  Make sure you get a copy of the police report when it becomes available.

3. Once the police have arrived you should attempt to move the car to the side of the road.  If you are unable to then you will need a tow truck (hopefully you have this coverage on your insurance policy).

4. Take photographs of the damage caused to your car and the other driver’s car, injuries that you and any other person suffered from the accident and the site of the accident. Pictures are worth 1000 words and in the telling of the story of your accident it may be worth thousands of dollars.

5. Now that you have pictures you need to collect some other information.  Make a note of all the details that are relevant.  Write down everything because you will inevitably forget some important facts.  Write down your condition as well as the condition of anyone else involved in the accident.  Make sure you have a copy of the other driver’s insurance information, and license plate. Be calm and never get angry.  Don’t get into an argument or admit fault.  Admitting fault at the scene of an accident can lead to your insurance claim being denied.  If the other driver becomes argumentative or violent it is best to get the police involved for your own protection.

6. Now that you have all the details worked out it’s time to speak to your attorney.  Explain to your personal injury attorney what happened so that they can determine the best course of action to protect your rights.

Your personal injury lawyer will advise you on working with insurance company.  You should not be quick in accepting your insurance company’s settlement without speaking to a car accident attorney.  The settlement may not be enough to cover your expenses and the insurance companies will try to settle for as little as possible.  Next file your insurance claim. Make an appointment with the company that provides you with the insurance.

The best way to avoid doing all of the above after a car accident is to drive safe.  Keep at least 2 car lengths between you and other cars, and if the road conditions are not good then keep more space between you and the other cars.