Having a car accident is a traumatizing and nerve-wracking experience, no matter if it is a serious accident or not. Immediately following the event, you may be confused, scared, and more than a little worried. It might be very difficult for you to keep your head clear and to remember what you need to take care of in such a delicate situation. Keep these tips in mind, and consider printing them off as a checklist to help you organize your thoughts immediately following a car accident.
First and foremost, try to remain calm. Take deep breaths, and focus carefully on what just happened. You must be able to calm your mind and body enough to deal with the aftermath of the accident. Panicking will only make the situation worse.
Turn on your hazard lights if you are unable to move your car off to the side of the road. Even if you can move your car, you may want to turn on the lights if the accident took place on a busy road. This will alert other drivers to the presence of your stalled vehicle, and it will also make it easier for emergency response vehicles or the police to find you.
Check for injuries and damage
Take inventory as soon as you can of any injuries to yourself or passengers in your vehicle. If you are able to get out of the car, check it for damage and take pictures with your phone’s camera if this is an option. Remember to take pictures of the other driver’s vehicle as well, when you have a chance. Check in with the other driver to assess any injuries that might have taken place there. Even if no one is hurt, call the police to document the accident.
Keep a record
Write down the date, time, and location of the accident, and get the other driver’s insurance information, driver license number, car make and model, name, and contact information. This may be a lot to try to keep straight when you are shaken up after an accident, but when it comes time to report the event to your insurance provider, you will be glad you took this step.
Check for witnesses
If there are witnesses in the form of passengers in your vehicle or the other driver’s, or if someone on the street saw what happened, take down the name and contact information of these people. They may be vital in determining who was at fault when it comes time to discuss the accident with your insurance provider.
Contact your insurance
Your insurance provider will need to know what happened. You may feel a little nervous about reporting the accident to them, but they will help talk you through everything you need to do to file a claim in the proper way. If you have followed the other steps listed above, you should have all of the information the company will need to process the claim efficiently and get back to you soon. In the meantime, try to relax and focus on recovering your body and your nerves from the accident.