No matter what you do to keep yourself safe, there’s no way to guarantee the safe driving of others around you. People may be looking at their phones, talking to passengers, or simply not paying attention to the surrounding traffic. If you are involved in a car accident, there are a few basic steps to take to make sure your safety and interests are protected.
- Call 911. Whether or not someone was injured, you want the police to come out to properly document who was at fault for the car accident. Even in a rear-end collision where fault is obvious, it never hurts to have a record. A police report will also ensure you have the name, address, and insurance company of the at-fault driver so you can file a proper claim for damages. The 911 operator will also ask if you need an ambulance. If you are injured and need to be evaluated by an EMT, this is especially important.
- Take Photos. As long as it is safe to do so, use your phone to take photos of both vehicles. You’ll want pictures showing how the cars were situated after the accident, and also photos of any visible damage. While you’re at it, take a picture of the at-fault driver’s license plate, too.
- Move to Safety. If your cars are in the middle of a high-traffic area and need to be moved, try to safely take these pictures before moving your cars. Then stay on a sidewalk or somewhere away from the road and other traffic. Only move your car if your car is drivable and it is safe to do so.
- Exchange Information. Talk to the other driver. Ask them for their drivers license and insurance information. Write this down, or even better, take pictures.
- Look for witnesses. If anyone stops to help, ask them if they saw the accident. Ask for their name and phone number. Write down a brief description of what they said they saw.
- Notify your Insurance Company. Under most policies, you have a duty to notify your insurer of an accident, even when you’re not at fault. Taking care of this early will help get the process moving more quickly. They can help process your property damage claim through the at-fault insurance company, saving you time and headache.
- Get to a doctor. You might feel fine at the scene of the accident but notice aches and pains in the following days. If this happens, get evaluated by a doctor right away. It doesn’t have to be a trip to the hospital – your regular doctor is fine. You’ll want to be checked out for more serious injuries, and recommendations for treatment. Waiting to treat your injuries can delay your recovery.
- Contact a qualified personal injury attorney. An attorney can help make sure your injury claim is handled properly and remove the worry of sorting out insurance. If you’ve been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, contact Anna Burr for a free consultation at 720-500-2076.