Car accidents happen when you least expect them and most of them have a tendency to put you on a serious test of quick thinking and composure. These scenarios necessitate quick answers to questions like: How do I handle things if such involuntary circumstances happen to me? What would be my initial reaction and how do I prioritize the next? Who do I call first?
Truth is, a lot of people aren’t fully prepared to handle the aftermath of most unforeseen and unfortunate situations in traffic because they usually think: this cannot happen to me, but you should never leave things to chance. Knowing how to handle these situations and having a what to do after a car accident checklist ready at all times is always a good idea, and could potentially settle your claim without further issues. Since both time and quick thinking are of the essence in times like these, we at Phoenix Towing wanted to give you an essential checklist for what to do after you’ve had a car accident.
What To Do Prior To The Accident: Be Prepared
Once again, car accidents can happen literally anywhere, anytime. Therefore, you should always carry the following items in your vehicle to avoid any penalties and inconveniences:
- A copy of the Motor Vehicle Accidents checklist.
- Insurance card.
- Driver’s license and registration.
- A safety kit.
What To Do Shortly After The Accident: Keep Your Composure And Take Action
Whether you are walking the pedestrian lane or sitting in the driver’s seat, any type of car accident can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Immediately thinking of what to do at the accident scene can even be incapacitating. This is where strong mentality and cool-headedness comes into play because you must try your very best to keep yourself calm and cooperate with others. Here are some important steps:
- Remain at the scene.
- Take a deep breath and subdue any panic.
- Check yourself, your passengers, and any other people involved for injuries. If anyone needs medical attention, call the ambulance immediately.
- Call the police. Even if no one is injured, it’s wise to call the police to document the accident. You can always file a police report later, but it is good to do it immediately in order to accurately record information.
- Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights.
- If there are other drivers involved, gather their information (name, contact, address, insurance company name and policy number).
- If you are not injured, too stressed or agitated, take notes on the details of the accident scene to accumulate as much evidence as you can.
- If possible, take clear photos of the damage and surrounding area, they serve as strong proof.
- If there are witnesses, their information can also be vital.
- If the accident is minor, move the vehicles out of traffic after documentation.
What to Avoid:
- Do not sign any papers (unless it’s for the police).
- Do not discuss the incident or admit fault.
- Make sure nobody takes photos of your documents.
- Do not leave the accident scene (at least until the police does).
What To Do After Leaving The Scene: Take Care Of The Aftermath
Once the whole procedure at the accident scene is finished, you need to take final steps to protect your rights and recover any suffered damages:
- Get in touch with your insurance company and tell them what happened asap.
- Get a copy of the accident report filed by the police and, if possible, other drivers.
- Keep detailed notes on your physical and mental conditions.
- Keep track of your medical treatment.
- Get a property damage valuation.
- Contact your injury lawyer to protect your rights and request full compensation for the damages you suffered.
NOTE: it is always best to seek legal advice before you provide any statements to the other involved in the incident (especially to his or her insurance company).