10 Steps to Take When You Are Involved in an Accident
1) Do Not Panic
While this is certainly easier said than done, it is so vital to try your best not to panic after an automobile accident. In the moments following an impact, take a deep breath and try to evaluate the situation. Determine whether or not you are injured. Take a moment to assess where you are and what is around you. Use all your senses to make sure you and your occupants can have their wits about them for the next steps.
2) Make Sure Everyone is Safe
Vehicles are now constructed to be safer than ever. Automobile manufacturers have installed many safety innovations in your vehicle. There is a good chance that you and all of your car’s occupants will be uninjured after an accident. However, it will be vital to check on everyone and make sure they are okay. You are the first priority because you will not be able to help anyone until you are sure you safe. Once you are sure you are not too injured to move without risk, check with each occupant of the vehicle. Encourage everyone to remain calm and avoid movement. The fear and adrenaline we experience during accidents can often mask the pain. You do not want your occupants injuring themselves worse by moving too quickly. The exception, of course, is if it is unsafe to remain in your vehicle. Whatever your condition, even the slightest cause for concern should lead you to contact medical personnel immediately.
3) Contact 911 or the Police
If you have been involved in a significant vehicle accident, it will be important to call 911 as soon as possible. Even if there are no obvious, apparent injuries to the occupants of your car, if other vehicles are involved, or there is the potential for unseen injuries, you will need all the help you can get.
For minor accidents and fender benders, it is still important to have a police report. Your insurance company will expect a detailed report of the incident. However, if there is no one injured, and vehicles can drive away, you may just call the highway patrol or local police department.
4) Pull Over Safely if Possible
If at all possible, try to pull your vehicle over to the emergency lane as soon as it is safe to do so. However, it is possible your vehicle will be disabled, so be careful. Your primary concern in this situation is the safety of everyone involved.
5) Check on Others Involved
If the accident is significant, and you are uninjured, check on others involved. You may still be on the phone with 911, so give the operator as many details as possible. If you are injured, however, you will want to stay in your vehicle as long as it is safe to do so. Whether it is you, an occupant of your vehicle, or someone in another vehicle, if someone is hurt, you want to help make sure they move as little as possible while you wait for EMS to arrive.
6) Establish Witnesses
If other vehicles have pulled over to assist, it is a good idea to get their information, as they could be witnesses to help you establish your case for insurance and, if necessary, any kind of civil case. Establishing witnesses will likely be invaluable as you move forward.
7) Take Photos if Possible
Take photos of the incident as soon as possible. If there is dashcam footage available, it is a good idea to keep it handy. You will want as much documentation as you can find in the days and weeks after an accident.
8) Talk to Your Insurance Company
As soon as possible, make sure your insurance company is aware of the incident. They will want as much information as possible, so try to take notes, in addition to photographs if possible.
9) Make Sure You Have All the Paperwork
Make sure you have all of your paperwork. If it is safe to do so, you will want to grab everything out of your car before it is towed away from the scene. Otherwise, you may have to retrieve it from your vehicle if it is being held in a junkyard.
10) Bring Your Car to Your Trusted Collision Shop
If your vehicle has not been totaled by your insurance company, or if you want to repair it anyway, bring your car to your trusted auto body shop. First Aid Collision works with your insurance company to ensure your vehicle is repaired properly. From a minor fender bender to close to being totaled, our experienced, professional, transparent technicians will get you back on the road as seamlessly as possible. Contact First Aid Collision for more information about scheduling your collision repair.