Getting into an auto accident is always a surprise. It can be a scary, traumatic, and stressful situation. Regardless of how carefully you drive, there’s still a chance you’ll end up in an accident. Most people know that calling 911 is the first thing they should do. Though this is an important first step, you need to know what to do afterward.
1. Assess Any Injuries
After an accident, you might feel disoriented and confused. Once the initial shock wears off, many people experience lingering stress and other emotional issues. The rush of adrenaline from being in a high-pressure situation might make it more difficult for you to realize that you’re injured. Once the authorities arrive, make sure that you and all of your passengers are examined by a medical professional.
2. Move Out of the Way
Staying safe and avoiding further harm should be your immediate priority. If you can, drive your vehicle to a safe space, such as the shoulder of the road, to avoid oncoming traffic. If you can’t move your car, turn on your hazard lights to let other drivers know they should avoid your lane.
3. Stay Calm
Although staying calm is easier said than done, try not to panic even if it was a serious accident. Give yourself a few minutes to take deep breaths and process what happened. This will help you think clearly when going through the next steps.
4. Take Notes, Pictures, and Videos
To give yourself a better chance of receiving compensation for damage caused by the accident, it’s essential to document every detail you can. You should take photos or videos to show the damage to your vehicle, any injuries you suffered, and traffic signs that can make it clear who was at fault.
Use your phone to jot down your recollection of the accident. When you notify your insurance provider, this information will help with your claim. Even though these details will be in the police report, you should still get the name, contact information, and license plate number of the other vehicles involved in the accident. Plus, if any people witnessed your accident, get their names and contact information as well.
5. Get Medical Attention
Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, you should still get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent and might not show up until a day or so after an auto accident. Receiving treatment right after the crash will also make it easier to include your medical bills in any claim you file for compensation.
No matter how careful you are, accidents are simply a part of driving. However, staying calm and following this guide can help keep you safe and protect your rights.