What to Do After an Accident – The Seven-Steps Guide

Let us admit one simple fact: as car owners, we are constantly worried about getting into an accident. Now, no matter how much you follow the rules, there is always the chance that someone else isn’t following the rules and bumps into your car and causes a wreck – or worse – seriously injures you in the process.

On that note, suppose you get into a car accident. What should be your next steps?

Here is what to know: 

Calm Down

Initially, you will experience adrenaline, which is why you won’t feel much of your injuries. But – as soon as you get a better understanding of what just happened, your cortisol level can kick in. instead of freaking out, try to calm yourself down. It is important to understand the importance of staying calm and setting your priorities right regarding how and where to put your focus.

You should focus on yourself first. Stop the car and check yourself and the passengers with you for injuries. If you or the passenger is injured, call the police and the ambulance. 

Move the Car to A Safe Place

After checking yourself for injuries, the next step is to move your car to the side or a safe place. This way, you can prevent a traffic jam caused by your car. If you can move your car, take it to the side of the road where it won’t cause trouble for the incoming traffic.

However, if you have trouble moving your car, you should turn on the hazard lights and leave the car. If you cannot get out of the car or move yourself due to injuries, the next step is to turn on the hazard lights and wait for help to arrive.

Check on Others

If you can get out of your car and you have moved the car to the side, get out of the car and check on the wellbeing of the other passengers that were involved in the car accident. If you see someone injured, call the emergency services. You can also ask bystanders or witnesses to help and call the ambulance. 

Call the Police

It doesn’t matter whether you have gotten into a major accident or just gotten away with the slightest scratch on your car – you are legally required to call the police. Once you call the police, the officer who is responding to the situation will make an accident report. They will also document the entire accident scene. 

On that note, if, for some reason, the police cannot come to the scene where the accident happened, we recommend driving to the nearest police station and filing the report yourself.

Call Your Lawyer

While you wait for help to arrive, make a call to your lawyer. Ideally, we recommend you call your lawyer as soon as possible, that is before you call your insurance company. Personal injury lawyers are exclusively dedicated to the rights of injured people and know what to do and protect your rights right from the start. 

So, we recommend calling a personal injury attorney even before you let your own insurance company know about the accident. The truth is that the insurance company – no matter whether it is your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company; they will do their best to jeopardize your interest so that they have to pay you the least amount of money.

Now you know why we recommend calling your lawyer right after you have called the police and the ambulance or asked someone else to take care of it. 

Collect Information

The next step that you need to do after you have gotten into an accident is to collect the much-needed information. Your insurance company or your lawyer might have already guided you over the phone about the type of information that you should be looking for. 

Firstly, you should get the name, contact number and addresses of all drivers who have been involved in the car accident. Subsequently, you should also exchange information related to your insurance company and policy number. 

But – we cannot stress enough on the importance of never revealing the details of your insurance coverage. 

To make it easier to understand – look out for the following information while taking notes:

  • Accident location
  • License plates of all involved vehicles
  • Contact details of all involved drivers
  • Details of the model, type, and color of the involved cars
  • License plate numbers and license 
  • Number and details of everyone’s insurance company 

More importantly – take pictures of the location and the extent of damage to all the involved vehicles. When it comes to exchanging information, we recommend taking notes of the witnesses, too. Note down their contact details, as you will need them later at the time of filing a lawsuit.

Avoid Discussions

It is normal to feel angry after you have gotten into an accident. However, as we mentioned earlier, keeping a sense of calm is absolutely mandatory if you want to get compensated for the potential damages to your car. If you have sustained injuries due to the accident, you might as well be looking for compensation for your medical bills and lost wages if you will have to take a few days or weeks off from work.

Don’t worry – your lawyer will have your back and help you throughout the entire process. However, it is important to display emotional intelligence, which includes avoiding getting into a heated discussion about whose fault it is. It is the job of insurance adjusters to determine whose fault it was from the following information:

  • Police report
  • Photographs of the accident site
  • Supporting documentation
  • Witness report 

Now you know why we say that you don’t have to discuss the accident and fault with the people who are present at the site. The only thing you need to do is to take notes of the necessary information, call your lawyer, and wait for help to arrive. 

To protect your rights, you can ask the responding officers for a copy of the accident report. You can also ask the responding officers for their identification and record their names and badge numbers. Always take pictures as a way to thoroughly document the accident.  


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