Getting into a car accident — even a minor fender bender — can be a scary experience. When you add in the possibility of injuries or significant damage to a vehicle, chances are you’ll wonder what steps you need to take to protect everyone and make sure your rights are protected. This checklist of five steps can help you deal with a car accident in the best way possible.
- Contact the police
Even a minor fender bender requires calling the police. Why? Because even if it appears that the damage is minor, the other driver’s story might change once you both leave the scene of the accident. Having a police report on hand means that an objective third party has noted the details of the incident.
- Exchange information
While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, go ahead and exchange personal and insurance information. Although a police report should always be attained and will contain this information, sometimes extremely long wait times or dangerous road conditions can make this difficult. It’s vitally important to have as much information as possible, with or without a report.
- Write Things Down
If possible, jot down what occurred leading up to the accident as well as any damages noted. Note as many details as you can remember to make sure they are freshly recorded.
- Take Lots of Pictures
Your cell phone’s camera can be a valuable asset during this time. Take lots of pictures that document the area of the damage as well as physical items that might be important. This includes several pictures of both cars. These include skid marks, road names and the weather conditions are the time. Of course, if possible, take pictures of any injuries. Videos can also be extremely valuable. Remember, safety is first and foremost, so only do this if it is safe to do so.
- Hire an attorney
If you or someone in your vehicle was injured in the accident, you need to consult with an attorney right away. In many cases, insurance companies will offer you a settlement that doesn’t provide enough compensation for your injuries. Even if you do not appear to be injured, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney anyway. Injuries from car accidents can appear long afterward.
No one wants to be in a car crash, but keeping the above steps in mind can make it easier to deal with a bad situation. They also help ensure that your needs — short-term and long-term — are met when it comes to injuries.