In the moments following a serious auto accident, you’re going to be frazzled, in shock, nervous and dealing with a host of other emotions as you try to navigate the accident scene. Being in such a state could prevent you from making wise choices, but having an action plan will prevent you from making a mistake regarding the important things to which you must attend.
You may want to print this step-by-step car accident action plan and keep it in your glove box. At the very least, make your own unique action plan and have it handy so you can stay clear and organized after a collision.
10 steps to take after a car accident
- Don’t leave the crash site: You might be nervous, flustered and frightened. In some cases, people run away from the scene because they’re ashamed or just too scared to face the reality of what happened. This is illegal. You can get in serious trouble with the law for fleeing an auto collision.
- Check everyone for injuries: If you’re able, go from vehicle to vehicle and attend to the injured. If injuries are present, call an ambulance immediately. Take notes regarding any injuries you find.
- Call authorities: No matter how serious the crash, it’s important to call the police to have them assign fault, assess damages and clear the road of debris. Get the names and badge numbers for the police officers. Ask for a copy of the police report.
- Trade contact and other information: Get all the contact information, license plate numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and insurance data for everyone involved in the crash. Also, collect names and contact information for injured passengers and eyewitnesses.
- Don’t apologize or admit fault: Tell police what happened, but don’t admit the accident was your fault to anyone. Also, don’t say that you’re sorry. It’s best to allow police to analyze the facts of the accident and offer their own ideas about fault in the police report. You do not have the legal training to determine who was actually at fault, so it’s best that you don’t admit to something you can’t be certain of.
- Take pictures and notes: Take notes of the accident scene, what happened and talk to witnesses. Take notes from witness accounts of what they saw with the appropriate witness’s name and contact information. Also, take pictures of the accident scene and your injuries if possible.
- Call your insurance company but be careful of insurers: You should inform your insurance company of what happened, but be careful about admitting to fault. Also, if another driver’s insurance company wants to settle with you, be sure to get an opinion from a legal professional before signing away your rights and agreeing to a settlement.
Are you fully prepared for a car accident?
A car accident can happen to anyone at any time. Be sure you know your legal rights if you were injured in such an incident. You may have the legal right to financial compensation relating to your medical costs, lost income, property damages and other costs stemming from your auto collision.