Even safe, responsible drivers can find themselves involved in car accidents. While defensive driving tactics can help you avoid collisions, encountering a negligent motorist is sometimes all it can take.
In this case, it is important that you take the right steps after a car accident. Doing so can prevent further injuries and property damage, while also strengthening your case when making an insurance claim. Here are a few key points to keep in mind.
Check yourself and others for injuries
The first step is to ensure that you and your passengers are not injured. If there are injuries, call for help immediately and wait for emergency services to arrive. Keep in mind that some injuries can take days or even weeks to show up. As a result, consider scheduling a doctor’s visit soon after the accident if no serious injuries are evident.
Contact local law enforcement
Local police officers can serve two essential functions at the scene. First, they will help other vehicles maneuver around the accident scene to ensure their safety and yours. Second, the police will create a report detailing exactly what happened. This police report is essential when filing an insurance claim, as it presents an objective view of what happened and who was at fault.
Exchange information with the other driver
You will also need to exchange insurance information with any other motorists involved. When sharing information, keep exchanges brief but civil. Provide your name and the phone number of your insurer but refrain from going into further detail. Keep in mind that even a general apology can constitute an admission of guilt.
You should also document the scene. Take pictures of vehicle damage, road conditions, and other relevant occurrences. You can also get the contact information for any witnesses present, as they can provide testimony on your behalf.