A car accident can happen to you when you least expect it. Whether you get involved in a minor fender bender or a more serious collision, you may not know what to do at the scene of the crash.
Knowing what to do right after a car accident can help you protect your rights and the recovery process. Reviewing what to do beforehand can also prevent you from leaving the scene of the car accident too early without proper information or documentation.
The first priority at the scene of an accident is safety, so if possible, move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent further accidents. Turn on your hazard lights and set up warning triangles or flares to alert other drivers. Check for injuries, both in your vehicle and in others involved and if someone has sustained serious injuries, call 911 immediately.
After ensuring everyone’s safety, exchange information with the other parties involved. Share your name, address, phone number and insurance details.
Document the scene
To protect yourself, document the accident scene by taking pictures of the vehicles involved, their positions and any damage. Also note the date, time and location of the accident. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information, as their statements may be valuable later.
Contact law enforcement
In many cases, you may want to involve law enforcement. Call the local police to report the accident, even if it is a minor one. Cooperate with the responding officer, providing accurate and detailed information.
Seek medical attention
In 2020, car accidents resulted in over 2.1 visits to the emergency room, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if you feel fine immediately after the accident, seek medical attention. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not manifest until later.
Once you leave the accident scene, keep detailed records of all interactions, medical bills and expenses related to the collision. This documentation can help your insurance company process your claim efficiently and accurately.