No matter how scared or worried you are, you must protect yourself after a car accident. Stay calm and remember a few helpful tips.
A car accident is a serious event for new drivers and veteran drivers alike. As soon as the incident occurs, you might feel confused, angry, or even embarrassed. Whether the car accident occurs as a result of your driving or is the fault of the other driver, you must take certain steps to protect yourself. There are several things you should do after a car accident occurs.
License and Registration
Ask the other driver for a copy of his registration and driver’s license. Write down the information on a spare piece of paper and keep on your person. Make sure that the name on both pieces matches. While there is a chance that the person is driving a relative’s car, there is also a chance that the car was stolen.
Call the Police
Call the police for a more serious accident and make sure that you both stay at the scene. Keep the vehicles in the same position they were when the accident occurred. Do not let the other driver convince you that their insurance will cover the incident or that it was not serious enough for police involvement.
Insurance companies recommend that you keep a small camera in your car for recording accidents. With the rise in cell phone use, you can still document the scene, even if you lack a separate camera. Take photos of both vehicles, including any extensive damage. You might even consider taking one or two photos of the other driver, just in case he files a lawsuit for physical damage.
Take stock of any passengers in your vehicle or the other vehicle. Make sure that everyone can walk and does not suffer from any injuries. The police might require that a car crash victim see a doctor or talk to a paramedic. This protects you from future insurance claims where drivers claim a passenger was severely injured. To prevent the chances of another driver claiming damage to a person not on the scene, make sure you document any victims.
No matter how angry or upset you feel, take a deep breath, and stay calm throughout the ordeal. The last thing you want is for a passerby to notify the cops of a road rage incident, or have the police arrive and find you in the middle of a screaming match.
Protect the Scene
If the car accident was severe, look for witnesses in the surrounding area. Ask the witnesses to stay until the police arrive. Avoid moving the vehicles until the police arrive. This not only protects the scene but also prevents accidents caused by you or the other driver walking out into traffic.
Once the police arrive, discuss the situation calmly and tell the officer exactly what happened. The officer should speak to the witnesses, help move the vehicles if needed, and file a report on the accident. This helps you file an accurate report to your insurance company and ensures that the car accident remains as non-dangerous as possible.