Regardless of how safely and defensively you drive on the road, accidents are bound to happen on occasion. Weather, distraction and intoxication are often factors involved in causing vehicle accidents, and even the smallest accident can lead to a serious injury that requires extensive time, money and energy to treat. All drivers, pedestrians and passengers can benefit from knowing what steps to take after a car accident to protect yourself financially, particularly if you were not at fault.
1. Assess the danger in the situation
If the accident was in a heavily populated area, or you feel you will worsen your injury by moving or attempting to get out of your car, do not move until emergency services arrive. If you can, move the car from the road so it is not obstructing traffic or creating a road hazard. Never leave the scene of an accident, but remember that your health is most important.
2. Call emergency services
If there is the potential for serious injury in the accident, call emergency services immediately to deal with injuries. When you call 911, they can also inform law enforcement officers of the accident and send them to direct traffic, take witness accounts and ensure that everyone is okay.
3. Gather information
If you are able, take pictures of the accident to document what happened. Note any damage to your vehicle or other vehicles, the license plate of any vehicles involved any other objects at the scene that may help prove how the accident happened. Write down the traffic and weather conditions, date and time, description of injuries, damage, the accident itself and any emergency or police involvement.
4. Document repairs
If you are forced to make any repairs to your vehicle and the accident was not your fault, you may be reimbursed by the individual at fault or their insurance company. Keep accurate, detailed records of any repairs you need to make to your vehicle or other property involved in the accident.
5. Seek medical attention
Even if the accident was small and you do not have any noticeable injuries, you should always seek a thorough examination after an accident. If problems arise with your health later and you are forced to undergo medical treatment, you may receive compensation for personal injury if you have proof the injury was caused by the accident.
Any time an accident results in an injury, you should contact an attorney, particularly if you were not at fault. An attorney will answer any questions you have about how to receive appropriate compensation for your injuries.