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The average person will get into roughly three or four car accidents over the course of their lifetime.
This means that, even if you haven’t yet been involved in a car accident, you likely will be at some point in the future.
Of course, the time to start understanding the immediate actions you should take after a serious wreck or just a small fender-bender isn’t when you’re sitting inside of a smoking car.
Instead, it’s time to start familiarizing yourself about the best way to handle an accident and stay safe on the road right now.
What are the most important things you need to do in the immediate aftermath of a car accident?
Read on to find out.
1. Get Out Of Physical Danger And Call 911
Depending on the severity of your car accident, in the first moments after the collision, you could still be in serious danger.
Keep in mind that car wrecks claim the lives of close to 1.3 million people in a single year. Sometimes, those deaths happen because people don’t get out of harm’s way — like out of a burning vehicle — quickly enough.
If you can move your car, pull it over off the road and encourage anyone else involved in the accident to do the same. If you can’t move your car, get outside and far away from the vehicles.
Then, immediately contact the authorities — especially if there are injuries on the scene.
2. Take Pictures
Once you’re officially out of harm’s way, it’s time for you to start collecting evidence.
The best way to do this?
By taking as many photos and videos as you are able to do.
Once you file a police report and contact your insurance company, this kind of evidence will greatly help you in building your case — and proving who was at fault.
If you’ve sustained physical injuries, take photos of them if possible. Also snap a few pictures of the damage done to your car, any debris in the middle of the road, or the license plates of the other cars involved.
Make sure that you also write down the date, time, and location of your car wreck. If things get too tense in an altercation between you and the other drivers, try your best to remain calm — and to take a video of their outburst.
3. Gather Witnesses
At this point, it’s highly likely that the police and any medical professionals needed have arrived or are very close by.
This means that you’ll need to start gathering witnesses and asking them to provide descriptions of what they say to the authorities. These are the people who will be able to prove who was at fault in an accident.
Keep in mind that, when you’re speaking with these witnesses, it’s important not to admit guilt.
Instead, tell the police your side of the story, and file a police report as soon as possible after the incident.
This is also the time to contact your insurance company. Remember that the sooner you file your claim, the farther in front of the line of other claims you’ll be.
4. Exchange Information With Those At The Scene
When you’ve been in a car accident, we know that it can sometimes be tough to keep your wits about you.
You likely feel frazzled, afraid, and perhaps you’ve even been seriously injured.
Unfortunately, when you’re not thinking clearly, you can often forget about some of the most important information needed for your case in the future.
One of the essentials that we see overlooked all to often?
Gathering the contact information of everyone present.
This includes the other drivers involved in the accident, the names and precincts of the police officers handling your call, and the phone numbers and names of any witnesses.
Make sure that you also get the number of your police report, so that you can easily follow up in the future.
5. Hire An Attorney
Once you’ve gotten home — or worse, are conscious but in the hospital having injuries treated — it’s easier to start planning your next steps.
Unfortunately, not ever car accident ends amicably.
The other driver may wrongly accuse you of being at fault for the wreck. You might have difficulty proving your innocence — and handling your claims — with your insurance company. There might not have been any available witnesses or cameras at the scene of the accident.
You might have even sustained such serious injuries that you’re interested in seeking compensation from the other drivers. Or, of course, the other drivers could be seeking damages from you.
This is when it’s best to have an attorney on your side.
Get in touch with trusted truck accident lawyers or other car accident attorneys in your area.
They’ll help you to file the proper paperwork, communicate with your insurance company, collect the proof you need to win your case, and can even prepare you for a day in court.
You Know What To Do After A Car Accident
We hope this post has empowered you with the kind of information that you’ll really wish you’d known sooner if you find yourself unprepared and in a car accident.
Remember to get out of physical danger, contact the authorities and your insurance company, gather evidence and witnesses, and, if needed lawyer up.
The road can sometimes be a dangerous place — being prepared for anything will help you to feel more confident behind the wheel.
Looking for additional tips on how to stay safe while you’re driving? Need to learn more about the potential legal and financial consequences of a car accident? In the market for a new car after a wreck?
We’ve got you covered.
Check out our website and blog for more access to up-to-the-minute news and ideas about how to practice safe driving.