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What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident?

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A car accident is a stressful event. It’s important to remember what to do immediately after a crash so you can preserve evidence and protect yourself.

If possible, make sure your car is out of traffic and in a safe spot. Then check yourself and any passengers for injuries.

1. Call the Police

The most important step is to call the police immediately after an accident. A report removes any doubt about what happened and helps you get the compensation you need for your car and other property damage.

While you are waiting for the police to arrive, make sure to write down and/or record with audio or video as much detail as possible. Include things like location, date and time of the accident, weather conditions, road condition, name of driver or drivers involved in the crash, their vehicle year, make and model and license plate number, insurance policy information and company, as well as any names and contact information of witnesses.

Be careful what you say to the other driver or anyone else at the scene of the crash. It is not uncommon to feel fine at the scene of an accident but develop serious injuries later as a result of whiplash or other symptoms that take several hours or days to fully manifest.

2. Exchange Information

It is important to exchange information with all drivers involved in the accident. This includes their names, contact information, driver’s license numbers and car insurance details (insurance company, policy number). In addition to this, be sure to capture the year, make and model of the other driver’s vehicle in case you need a description for your police report.

It’s also a good idea to ask for the names and contact information of any witnesses. They may provide valuable testimony for your case in court later.

Finally, remember to remain polite and respectful to all parties involved in the crash. Avoid apologizing for your actions or making promises about not involving the police or insurance companies. This could be used against you in a lawsuit later.

3. Take Pictures

Taking photos of the accident scene is important because there are a lot of details that might not be evident to you at the time, but might be critical in proving how the accident happened. Take pictures of both cars and the damage, as well as any skid marks. If possible, try to get a picture from close-up and also from further away so that there is a clear view of the entire area.

Photograph any visible injuries that might occur, too. Obviously, do not put yourself in danger for this and it is always best to see a doctor to be sure of the extent of any injuries in the days that follow the crash.

If there are any witnesses, be sure to photograph their license plates. This can be useful if they change their story later or are unable to testify. Also, don’t forget to photograph the accident scene, including any road signs that were damaged or missing as this might also be relevant.

4. Get Help

Even if your injuries are minor, it is important to see a doctor. Not only will the medical treatment you receive help your recovery, but the records from the treatment will also be valuable to you in pursuing fair compensation for your damages.

It is also helpful to write down as many details as possible while at the scene of the accident including: the date, time, weather conditions and road condition, the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash, a general description of each vehicle including color, license plate number and owner (if different from the driver), and any other information that may be useful.

Once you have determined it is safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road so that it doesn’t impede traffic and turn on your hazard lights. It is also a good idea to set up flares or reflective emergency triangles if needed.

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