A car accident is a traumatic experience, whether it is a minor fender bender or a major collision. The situation is even more distressing when the accident was not your fault. You are likely to be in shock in the immediate aftermath of the accident and not thinking clearly.
However, there are several simple steps you can take after the accident that help ensure everyone’s safety and make the insurance claim process run smoothly. First, check everyone for injuries and call for emergency help for anyone who appears to need it.
Call the police
Even if everyone involved appears to be unharmed, you should still call emergency services, since not all injuries are immediately apparent. Call the police as well and have a police report filed. Ask for a copy of the report when it is available to keep for your records. Get the names and badge numbers of all police officers.
Watch what you say
When the police arrive, be very careful about what you say to them. There are many innocent-sounding things you may say that can make it seem like you are admitting the accident was your fault. Even something as simple as saying “I’m sorry” to the other driver could be used against you.
Exchange information with the other drivers. Get their names, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information. Take photos of yourself and all vehicles involved. Try to get pictures of the vehicles at several different angles, which can help insurance companies get a more thorough idea of the damage.
Learn about your options
After you have gotten over the shock of the accident, speaking with a personal injury attorney could be beneficial. If you were injured, you could face high medical costs and lost wages, in addition to mental distress and anguish. A personal injury claim based on the other driver’s negligence could help you recover compensation for these and other potential costs.