Car accidents happen every day and often times can’t be avoided. You could be driving and minding your own business and next thing you know, someone rear-ended you. It’s very important to know what to do in such situations because what you do next can make a big difference.
Here are 15 things you should do within the first ten minutes of having a car accident:
1. Remain as close as you safely can to the scene
In the United States, there are over 6 million vehicle accidents each year. So there is a pretty high chance that you will eventually be involved in one. If it does happen, the first thing you should do is remain at the scene of the accident. Those that leave can be charged with “hit and run”.
2. Activate your hazard lights
The next step is to draw attention to the accident. Turning on your hazard lights will notify the other drivers to slow down. You can also use a flare if your car has one.
3. Don’t stand on the road
It’s important to avoid standing on the road. Drivers passing by won’t be expecting people on the road and may hit you if you stand there.
4. Leave traffic directions to the cops
First off, you don’t have the legal right to direct traffic, plus it’s not safe. So leave this for the police.
5. Call the police
In a car accident, there’s no better resource than the police. The police officer will complete an accident report and arrange a tow truck if necessary, and aid in information exchange between the drivers. Plus, you will need that police report when filing an insurance claim, especially if you were driving a car lease.
6. Exchange information
While waiting for the police to get there, you can exchange insurance and contact information with the other party. This will speed things up when the police do get there.
7. Keep your mouth shut
Oftentimes the initial impressions of the accident are not what actually happened. Never admit your fault at the scene, this will be determined later by your insurance company and lawyer.
8. Take pictures
Pictures speak louder than words. Take pictures of the scene and all vehicle involved. This will be very beneficial for insurance companies to understand how the crash happened.
9. Take note of the time and weather
The weather conditions can help determine who was at fault or if both drivers were at fault.
10. Draw a diagram
It’s a good idea to draw a bird’s-eye view of the accident while you are at the scene at it’s fresh in your memory. If you will need to go to court later or recount the facts to your insurance company, this will be of great help.
11. Think twice before saying, “I’m not injured”
You may not feel an injury right away, but you actually might be. Most times people only begin to feel muscle pains a day or two after the accident, so don’t rush into assuming you’re fine.
12. Consider getting medical attention
Even if you absolutely think you’re not injured, it might still be a good idea to let the paramedics check you out if they were called to the scene. If they advise you to go to a hospital, you should definitely go.
13. Be careful who you talk to at the scene
It’s a sad fact but is still true: certain people are professional accident stalkers. They will arrive at accident scenes within the first ten minutes to try and get the people involved to sign on with a particular attorney or see a particular doctor. Avoid them at all costs.
14. Call your insurance company
It’s very important to inform your insurance company about the accident. If the accident wasn’t your fault, it would be a good idea to have the at-fault driver on record saying they caused the accident.
15. BUT refuse to talk to anyone else’s insurance company, yourself
A lot of drivers who are at fault of the accident will later deny their fault. When you avoid talking to someone else’s insurance company, you protect yourself from incriminating yourself. Anything you say to the other party’s insurance may be used against you.
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