Steps to Take After a Car Accident

Steps to Take After a Car Accident

In the wake of an automobile accident, you may face a number of difficulties.  First and foremost, you will likely be dazed or in a state of shock, even if it’s only a fender-bender.  The amount of adrenaline that pumps into your system during an accident can make it seem like every second is taking minutes, so you are likely to be a little out of touch with reality, at least until you take a few deep breaths and relax.  From there, you will need to keep a clear head, take stock of the situation, and decide what steps to take.  Here is a fairly comprehensive list of how you should go about handling the aftermath of a car accident.

Driving school car accident:
Driving school car accident

1.  Check for injuries.  Before you do anything else, you need to check yourself and the people in your vehicle for injuries.  Adrenaline may make you unaware of the fact that you have been injured, so before you try to move or exit the vehicle, do a thorough assessment.  You don’t want to end up causing further damage due to carelessness.  Do not let your passengers exit the vehicle until you have ensured that they are okay and that it is safe to do so.

2.   Call emergency services.  Once you have ascertained the health status of yourself and your passengers, place a call to emergency services.  If someone is injured you will definitely need an ambulance so they can receive proper medical care.  And you’ll want the police involved either way to ensure that proper statements are recorded.

Rollover Car Accident:
Rollover Car Accident

3.   Pull off the road or otherwise safely exit your vehicle.  If there is little damage to your vehicle, you may want to pull off to the shoulder to avoid creating a road obstruction that could lead to further accidents.  On the other hand, a major crash may require that you leave your vehicle exactly where it is so that police can examine the scene to determine causality.

4.   Consult with the other driver and witnesses.  If it is safe to do so, you may exit your vehicle to check on the other driver, see if they are okay, and trade information (names, phone numbers, insurance providers, etc.).  You will also want to get the names and phone numbers of witnesses who have stopped so that you can provide them to police and insurance companies for statements.

Car Accident:
Car Accident

5.   Take photos.  For insurance purposes, it is important to document the extent of damage to your vehicle and your person.  It may be relevant when it comes time to secure payment for repairs and/or medical bills, or if you end up going to court (for the latter reason, you may also want to have evidence of the other driver’s car as well).

6.  File a report.  When the police arrive, recount the accident to the best of your recollection and give them the names and phone numbers of witnesses (who may have already left the scene).  Ask to be apprised when the report is filed (it can take up to 10 days) so that you can get a copy.  Your memory will be the freshest immediately following the accident, so this account will be the most accurate.

SUV crashed into the parked car:
SUV crashed into the parked car

7.   Call your insurance.  Report the accident to your insurance company so that proceedings for repair can begin immediately.  If possible, give a full statement at this time rather than waiting until later, when your memory may be clouded.

Sarah Danielson writes for Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers where you can find lawyers that have experience working on every type of personal injury.

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