You might think that you know a lot about driving. Have you ever been in an accident, though? It can upset you quite a bit, and you may be uncertain how to proceed as you’re trying to clear the cobwebs and figure out what happened.
It’s best to think about the steps to take before you’re ever involved in an accident. This way, if the worst ever happens, you will know what to do, even if you’re confused, and you have an adrenaline rush.
Here are step by step instructions you can follow after a collision.
Remain at the Scene
Before you contact a car accident lawyer or do anything else, you need to remain at the scene. We cannot stress this enough. If you stay at the scene:
- Then you can tell the police what happened when they arrive
- You can help the other driver, your passengers, or anyone else who needs it
- It shows that you’re a responsible driver, no matter whether it was your fault or not
By contrast, if you leave the accident scene, that’s illegal, and you can get in serious trouble. If you leave, then as far as the other driver knows, you could be trying to hide your intoxication. Stay where you are to speak to the authorities.
Give the Police the Relevant Information
When the police arrive, you will need to give them some info. You’ll have to provide them with:
- Your license plate number
- Your insurance provider’s name and the policy number
- Your name and your driver’s license number
As long as you have all of that info, there should be no problems. You should have your license on you, as well as the car’s registration and insurance papers.
If you’re driving with a suspended license, or you don’t have one, then you’re going to be in some trouble at this point. The same is true is you’re driving with no insurance. If the cops feel like you might be drunk, they also may give you a breathalyzer test.
As long as you’re sober and have all the right paperwork, you should be fine. If not, it’s possible the cops could arrest you.
Call for an Ambulance
If anyone seems to be hurt, then call for an ambulance without delay. Use your phone, or if you don’t have one, see if the other driver or a witness has one.
Try to take stock of your condition. If you’re bleeding, have a headache, or anything else seems to be wrong with you, then make sure the first responders check you out when they get there. If necessary, they might take you to a hospital for further testing.
Try to Get Your Vehicle Off the Road
Unless you’ve totaled your vehicle and can’t drive it anymore, try to get it off the road. This is critical if you’re in the middle of the highway or a busy thoroughfare. Other drivers will want to get past you, and you don’t want to inconvenience them any more than necessary.
If you can’t move your car, then you’ll need to call a tow truck. Some high-end credit cards offer this service, and if you have one of those, you can call the help number.
Otherwise, you could just look for the nearest tow service and a nearby mechanic. Once you’ve gotten all the other details out of the way, you’ll need to get your car to an auto body shop to figure out the damage.
It’s also helpful if you take some scene pictures. If you have a camera phone, as most people do, then document what happened. Take photos of your car, the other vehicle, the street or intersection, and anything else that’s relevant.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
The next step must be to contact your insurance provider. You should be able to give them a detailed report of what happened. You should have the other driver’s name and their vehicle info.
You ought to have any eyewitness names as well. You should be able to tell your insurance provider what time the incident occurred, the name of the street or highway where it happened, and the badge number and name of any responding officer.
It’s at this point that you can start to figure out whether you’ll need to contact a car accident lawyer. If the other driver has a different story about what happened, then you may have some court dates in your future.