It’s every driver’s worst nightmare: getting in a car accident. Even if you’re careful and always wear your seatbelt, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be safe from a collision. If you’re ever involved in a car accident, here are seven things to do to help make the aftermath as smooth as possible.
What To Do After an Accident
1. Stay Calm
When you first get in an accident, it’s natural to panic. It’s also natural to want to jump out of the car or start shouting at the other driver. However, both reactions could exacerbate the situation and cause more problems than they solve. Remain calm as best you can, take a deep breath, and try to think rationally about the situation.
2. Exchange Information With the Other Driver
After you’ve calmed down, it’s time to talk to the other driver. Exchange contact information with them, including your full name, phone number, and insurance information. Take pictures of the other driver’s license plate, their face (if possible), their car damage, and any notes you might have on the accident. If there are witnesses, make sure you get their contact information as well.
3. Call the Police and an Ambulance, if Necessary
If anyone in your car or the other driver requires medical attention, call 911 immediately. If there are serious injuries involved, stay at the scene until EMTs arrive to help transport injured parties to a hospital. Don’t drive away from the accident unless you have no other choice, as you could be charged with hit-and-run. Calling the police ensures that you won’t be responsible for hit-and-run charges, and also gives the insurance companies time to send representatives down to the scene.
4. Call Your Insurance Company
Once it’s safe to move your car and you’ve exchanged information with the other driver, call up your insurance company to inform them of the accident. Your provider should tell you whether or not you need a police report number before they assess your claim. If they insist on seeing the report, ask the officer on the scene for help getting one.
Why is it important to call your insurance company as soon as possible? The sooner you call them, the sooner they can get the claims process started. This will help ensure that you receive a fair settlement and aren’t stuck footing the bill for your accident out of pocket.
5. Call a Qualified Attorney
Even if you feel like the accident wasn’t your fault, call a personal injury attorney to help assess your situation. Many car accidents are caused by issues that happened several weeks or even months before, such as tire problems or brake issues. Having an experienced attorney on your side can be very helpful in cases like these, where nothing is clear-cut. Personal injury lawyers in Reno work on a contingency basis, which means that you won’t have to pay them until they help secure compensation for your claim.
6. Seek Medical Attention
This goes without saying, but make sure to see your doctor if you’ve been injured in your accident. Even if you don’t feel like anything is wrong right away, go to the hospital and get checked out. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially since car accidents can cause hidden injuries that may not appear for days, weeks or even months after the accident occurred.
7. Follow Up With Your Insurance Company
After you’ve seen your doctor, followed up with the police, called your attorney, and finished up any other loose ends, sit down with your insurance company to discuss how things will move forward. They may have suggestions for you, or they could inform you of the next steps in your claim. If everything goes smoothly, your settlement should come through quickly after this point. If not, a qualified personal injury attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Getting in a car accident is bound to be an extremely stressful experience. It’s important to remain calm and collected, though, so that you can react appropriately in the heat of the moment. By taking the right steps, you could be well on your way to recuperating both financially and emotionally.