Did you know that a majority of fatal car accidents occur close to your place of residence, at least according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)? Fifty-two percent of car accidents occur 5 miles from home, and around 77% take place within 15 miles of a driver’s home.
All of this to say that you might think that you are close to home and start paying a little less attention, and boom! Out of nowhere, you are in a car accident. Read on to find out what you should do right after you’re involved in a car accident.
1. Check Yourself and Your Passengers for Injuries
Not that you are an expert in injuries or anything, but before you move out of the car or start rummaging about around it, it’s important to check that you don’t have any severe injuries. If you feel like your neck is injured or you feel like your leg might be broken, it’s important to stay put and not move around a lot.
The same thing applies to any of your passengers. Emergency services will check them soon enough, but a perfunctory check now will ensure you know what to expect later.
2. Get Your Car Out of Harm’s Way
If you are injured but can still move, try to sit somewhere away from the car so you are safe and sound. Also, it’s highly recommended that you move your car out of the traffic, and to some other safe spot. This way, you don’t impede the flow of traffic, and you also stay away from being hit by other distracted drivers.
Before you move your car, take some pictures or videos of the accident scene so you have a record of exactly what happened. You can take more pictures later, but a brief video of how the two cars look will be useful for insurance purposes later.
3. Call the Emergency Services
Someone would have hopefully done this already, especially if the car crash looked serious. But even so, it’s still your responsibility to call 911 and inform them about the accident. This is even if no one was injured.
In some states, police will not respond if it’s a minor collision. But that’s not your call to make.
Tell them you had an accident, and explain to them how the accident scene looks. Then they can make the judgment on whether to come over or not.
4. Take Each Other’s Insurance Information
Now’s not the time to start yelling at each other or berating each other for being careless drivers. But you must speak to each other respectfully enough so you can gather each other’s insurance information.
If the other driver starts blaming wet leaves on the road or some other similar thing, choose not to argue with them about it, especially if you think they were just being negligent. The insurance company will look into the details themselves, so you don’t have to bother with this.
5. Get Your Car Towed to a Repair Shop if Undrivable
If your car is drivable, then you can drive it to the nearest repair shop yourself. But if you think it will need towing, then call a towing company like Geyers Towing to get your car towed to the right location. Your insurance company might even have you covered for such situations, so make sure you contact them next.
6. Call Your Insurance Company
You will need to contact your insurance company sooner rather than later so they are kept in the loop about what’s going on with your vehicle. The insurance company professional can help you navigate your claim process, especially if you end up in a car accident with a person with rock bottom or no car insurance.
In such cases, you don’t want to be negotiating with folks about repair costs and other such details. This is especially important if you are not at fault, because then in a lot of cases, your insurance premiums will remain the same and you might even get some compensation for the traumatic car crash you went through.
Stay in contact with your insurance company after the crash to ensure everything is on track with the claim. And make sure to keep all your accident-related documents safe and sound until the claim process has ended.
7. Visit the Doctor
Even if you feel perfectly fine, it’s still important to go visit the doctor to ensure there’s nothing untoward going on. This is even more important if you hit your head in a car crash. You never want to take a chance with a head injury, so go to the doctor as soon as you can after the car crash and get the A-ok from them.
If you aren’t okay and need medical treatment, then that’s further ammunition your insurance company can use against the other party. The same thing applies to any passengers that you have in your car.
Stay Calm and Proactive in a Car Accident
All in all, the main thing to remember after a crash, is that you need to remain calm even if the circumstance is far from soothing. Becoming agitated or getting into a rage will not help you or the situation at all.
Also, remember to keep the checklist above in mind after a car accident so you don’t have to think too hard about the next steps when you are in a high adrenaline state. This way, you know you’ve taken care of all the necessary eventualities after the car crash, and you can go home feeling easy.
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