When you consider planning ahead for your future, you probably think about things like retirements and savings account. However, it is important to prepare yourself for emergency situations, too, like what to do if you are involved in a car accident.
Statistics from the car industry show that the average driver will be in at least a minor car accident at least once every 17.9 years. This means that the odds are that by the time you are 35, if you started driving at 16, you will have been in an accident.
This also means that you should probably plan ahead so you know what to do when you are in one. Here are the 6 main steps that you need to take if you are involved in a minor car accident.
6 Steps to Follow After a Car Accident
- Safety first – move out of the way of traffic. If you are able to get yourself and your car to a safe place, move to the side of the road or someplace where you are not a hazard. If it’s not possible to get fully out of the way, or your car is not drivable, turn on your hazard signals to try to give notice to other drivers that you are in an emergency situation and can’t move.
- Complete an injury check. Be sure your vehicle is in park and set the emergency brake if you have one. Then evaluate yourself for injuries. If you are hurt, don’t move – call 911 if possible.
If you are not hurt, check on your other passengers and those in the other vehicle. Call 911 if there are any signs of injury, even if minor ones. Minor injuries can turn into major problems with little notice.
- Call the emergency authorities. Whether you feel like there were injuries or damage to your car or not, you should always call the police for an accident report. This report will be necessary if damages or injuries appear later or if the other party involved decides to file a claim.
Some insurance policies in certain states require you to report any accident, no matter how minor. Neglecting to do so may result in denial of your claims.
- Obtain everyone’s information. Be sure to collect the other driver’s name, address, and phone number, insurance information, and the information for any passengers or witnesses. Write down the make and model of every vehicle involved, where the accident occurred, and the name of badge number of responding officers.
This should all be on the police report, but you may not have access to that for days, sometimes even weeks.
- Gather documentation. If you have a cell phone camera, take pictures and video of the accident scene, any damage to your vehicle, and any injuries if you can. These may help you later should you have to file a claim.
This documentation is also crucial if you are injured and need to file a lawsuit get your benefits. Hiring trustworthy and experienced lawyers will help you win your case, but having excellent documentation to back up your statements is important.
- File a claim with your insurance company. This can be done at the scene of the accident or when you get home and settled, but be sure to do so as quickly as possible.
Stay Calm – Follow These 6 Steps
Knowing what to do before you are in an accident can help you remain calm and take charge of your actions at the scene. Follow these six steps to minimize the pressure of a stressful situation.