Every year, there are over six million car accidents in the U.S. alone. Over two million of those involve injury. A motor vehicle collision is a very trying time and we hope it never happens to you. But if it does, we want you to be prepared. That is why our topic of discussion today is what to do after a car accident. Keep reading to learn six steps you must take to protect yourself.
What to Do After a Car Accident
If your car has been involved in an accident, never drive away from the scene. Even if the collision was minor, you must remain until the police have arrived.
Protect the Scene
To prevent any further collisions, keep the scene as well-lit as possible. Keep your flashers on and set up flares or a box light if available. If it is dark and your hazards do not work, use the flashlight app on your phone to illuminate yourself as you wait in your vehicle or on the side of the road.
Call the Police
As soon as it is safe to do so, call the police. If you are on the highway and do not know what police jurisdiction you are in, call the State Highway Patrol. Your state may call this agency the Department of Public Safety’s State Troopers.
Your insurance company will probably require a police report before you can file a claim, even if it is only for damage to the vehicle. Keep all vehicles involved where they are unless there are no injuries and the vehicles are impeding the flow of traffic.
Make an Accurate Record
When the police arrive, do your best to tell the investigating officer or officers precisely what happened. Give as much detail as you are certain of, such as road and weather conditions and speed of travel at the time of the collision. However, let the officer know if you are unsure of anything. A dash cam can help significantly and may even prove that you were not at fault for a collision.
Let the officer know if you are unsure if you are injured. Thanks to all the adrenaline involved in a car accident, you may not feel any pain until several hours after the accident. Make sure statements made by other involved parties are also accurate.
Hopefully you have a camera or a working cell phone that can take pictures after the accident. If it does not interfere with the police investigation, take pictures of any damage to the vehicles caused by the accident. Otherwise, take pictures as soon after the accident as you can. Also, photograph any visible injuries to yourself and any others in your vehicle. Capture images of everything from bruises caused by your seat belt and airbags to cuts and scrapes.
The investigating officer is usually responsible for obtaining information from all involved parties. However, if you choose to skip the third step, get the name, phone number and address of all other parties involved in the accident. Ask to see an insurance card for each vehicle involved in the collision and snap a photo or write vital information down, such as the insurance provider and account number.
Get contact information for any witnesses, as well. This will be useful to you or your attorney in the future. If the police are involved, you should get a police report number which you can later use to get a copy of the police report. If the accident occurred on a state highway, you will need to request this report from the state police.
Contact Bruce Chevrolet Collision Center Today
While it is crucial to know what to do after a car accident, we hope you never have to use this information and stay safe on the road. If you have been involved in a car accident, contact the friendly folks at Bruce Chevrolet Collision Center. And further, feel free to check out our blog and learn about all things related to cars, from what not to do when your windshield is cracked to what to look for in the perfect body shop. We look forward to servicing your mechanical needs.