Getting into a car accident is one of the most stressful experiences a person can have, which is why it’s easy to become overwhelmed and panic after you’ve been hit. Chances are that you might not remember all of the helpful information you’ve read in advance about how to handle the situation in a moment of crisis, which is why it is beneficial to have a car accident checklist handy in your vehicle.
Here is an overview of what to do after a car accident checklist items to have written down and stowed away in your vehicle in case you are involved in an accident in the future.
1. Don’t Leave the Scene or Panic
Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime and could result in a hit and run claim being filed against you. Depending on the severity of the accident, the crime could be a misdemeanor or a felony. Stay at the scene until the police arrive and stay as calm as possible so that you can handle the matter reasonably and efficiently.
2. Assess Accident Injuries
After an accident, take some deep breaths and inspect your body for signs of injuries, such as blood, pain, and parts you are unable to move. Then, check on the wellbeing of any passengers traveling with you in your own car. After this, exit your vehicle to see if any drivers or passengers of any other involved vehicles are injured so that you can call for help right away.
3. Move Your Vehicle Aside After a Minor Accident
If the accident is minor, move your vehicle to the side of the road so that it does not pose a hazard to other drivers traveling on the road. If the accident and injuries severe, leave your vehicle where it is.
4. Call the Police
Even for minor accidents, it is important to call the police to respond to the scene and file a police report. This is a crucial step in pursuing an insurance claim and filing a legal case against an at-fault driver.
5. Gather Information from the Other Driver
Get out of your car and ask the other driver involved for his or her contact information and insurance information. Also, jot down your own notes with the driver’s license plate number, personal description, and vehicle description.
6. Take Photos of the Scene and Damage
To preserve timely evidence for your potential accident claim, use your mobile phone to take photos of the vehicle damage and the surrounding area. Photos that document weather conditions, skid marks, and bodily injuries are also helpful.
7. Get Information from Witnesses
If there were any witnesses present at the scene of the accident, ask them for their names and contact information. Don’t worry about recording statements from them initially because the police can handle this when they arrive if needed.
8. Never Admit Fault
Whatever you do, don’t take the blame for the accident or make any statements to say that the accident was your fault. It is often impossible to determine fault at this early stage of an accident investigation, and more than one driver could be at fault, which will affect your claim and potential recovery.
9. Contact Your Insurance Company
As soon as practicable, contact your car insurance company to let them know about the accident. However, do not sign anything from any insurance company or admit fault to an insurance company until you speak to an attorney.
10. Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
To protect your legal rights, contact a local auto accident attorney after your accident before agreeing to any type of insurance settlement. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum will review the police report, photos, witness statements, and other evidence to get you the best and fairest compensation after your wreck.
To be prepared, write our phone number (718-237-5586) on your car accident checklist or program it into your cell phone contacts for easy access after an accident.