Being in involved in a car accident not only ruins your day, but can also leave you shaken up, which affects how well you react. Many people even say that their minds go blank after the initial impact. While this is perfectly normal, it’s important to take certain steps immediately following the accident to ensure your safety and protect yourself against false claims. So after you take a deep breath, make sure you know these top things to do and not to do in the moments after a car accident.
[Do] Make Sure that No One is Injured
The first step is to assess yourself to ensure that you aren’t injured. If you are, don’t move unless you are in immediate danger. If you are injured, but in a safe location, wait for an ambulance to arrive. If you aren’t injured, examine the other passengers in your vehicle and those in other vehicles. Call an ambulance if anyone exhibits any level of injury. Make sure you are keeping an eye on the traffic around you as well, and stay away from the road as much as possible.
[Do] Gather Contact Information
It’s vital that you obtain the names and contact information for the driver and passengers in the other vehicle involved in the collision. Make sure to ask who was driving and who actually owns the vehicle. In addition, get the contact information for any witnesses who saw the accident occur. These individuals may need to corroborate your version of events, but can be difficult to locate later if they have to leave the scene before the police arrive.
[Do] Take Photographs
If you are not injured, your next step should be taking photos of the accident to document the scene. Try to get photographs from all traffic angles as well as close-ups of any vehicle damage. It’s also a good idea to take photos of the other individuals involved, in case they claim that they weren’t there. Don’t forget to take a photo of the other vehicle’s license plates as well, but do so as calmly as possible – not in an effort to agitate the other driver. Remember, they are likely shaken up as well.
[Don’t] Reveal Too Much
While it’s important to be cordial to the other people involved, don’t discuss details of the accident. Similarly, don’t tell them that you were in a hurry or are going to be late now, as these can indicate that you were a distracted driver. Wait until the police come and let them ask the questions.
[Don’t] Sign Anything
Never sign any document or make any statement unless it is to an official police representative. The police are aware of the proper next steps and they know what needs to be signed – don’t let anyone else who is not with the police talk you into signing anything.
Finally, make sure you have your car insurance documents easily available in the event of a car accident. At Spickelmier Insurance, we are here to help both before and after a car accident, so contact us to learn what kind of coverage is best for you. Contact us at our Jacksonville or St. Augustine office today for a free auto insurance quote and to learn more tips on what to do if you are in an accident.