Getting into a car accident is a scary and stressful situation, especially when you’re with your family. Even if you’re a safe and experienced driver, you may find yourself in an accident that was entirely out of your control. Since you may not have experienced a car accident before, it’s essential to know the steps to take immediately following the crash. Knowing what to do will help you deal with the situation properly if it ever happens.
- Move to a safe area
No one has training in what to do after an accident, but fortunately, often instincts will kick in. The most important thing to do after a car accident is to get your family to a safe area. Assess if anyone is injured and if there are no injuries, or they are mild, get your family out of harms way. If you’re able to move the car to safety, do so, but the priority is the safety of your family. If a member of your family is severely injured, you should avoid physically maneuvering their body until professionals get there as you could make it worse.
- Call the police/ambulance
If anyone has sustained injuries, you need to call the police straight away. You may not think the injuries are severe, but sometimes symptoms don’t arise until later on. Bodies will go into shock after an accident, which may stop you from feeling any injuries you may have sustained. Even if there are no injuries, you should still call the police if there is substantial damage to any vehicle or if you suspect the other drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Follow any instructions given to you by the emergency operator as you wait for the police to arrive.
- Stay calm
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and panic after a car accident. You may feel anger towards the other driver but resist the urge to throw out accusations about whose fault it was. Try to avoid discussing the collision with the other driver, as anything you say may potentially be used against you later. Make sure you seek legal advice from someone who knows how to handle car accidents, before agreeing to sign any waivers.
- Record information
Although emotions are running high and adrenaline is pumping immediately following an accident, you must remember to record as much information as possible. Having details will help you with your insurance as well as with any legal action. Take pictures and videos of damages and the scene once it’s safe to do so. Make sure to take down the names of all the individuals involved, their phone numbers, and their license plate details. Try to get the contact details of any witnesses as well in case you need them to testify for you.
Be as thorough as possible about the circumstances surrounding the accident. Include details about the time of day, weather, road conditions, and anything that may have caused the accident. The more information you have, the best chance you’ll have to receive proper compensation for any injuries sustained during the accident.