After a Car Accident: What to Do Immediately

The aftermath of a car accident is an emotional rollercoaster. It can be hard to remember all the things you should do, especially if you are in shock or overwhelmed with fear. The following steps are designed to help guide through this difficult time and protect yourself from any potential liability.

Call for help

If you or anyone else in the car is injured, call 911 immediately and explain to the dispatcher what happened and how badly someone is hurt. If there are no injuries, but the vehicles cannot be moved without risking further damage, call your local police station or highway patrol station and explain your situation. You can also call roadside assistance, especially if anyone in the car is injured or you are stuck in a dangerous location.

Check on any other people in the car

If there are any passengers with you, check to make sure they are alert and responding normally to your voice. Check their pulse, ask them what day it is, and if they feel any pain in their neck or back. If there are no injuries but you suspect that someone may be in shock or disoriented from a head injury, do not move them unless the car is on fire or otherwise dangerous. The most important thing at this point is to get them to a hospital as soon as possible.

Exchange contact information with the other driver

Ask him or her for their full name, address, phone number and insurance information. Make sure you have all of this information before moving on to step four. If possible, get a business card from them so you can look up their insurance details later.

Stay at the scene until it is safe to leave

Do not move your car unless you have no choice or if it is in danger of catching fire or is otherwise an immediate safety hazard. If possible, stay with any injured people and help them calm down and breathe normally until paramedics arrive.  You may be feeling overwhelmed at the time, but try to focus on your breathing and stay in control until you can get help.  Remember that your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will require you to exchange insurance information with all parties before moving your car from the scene, so make sure no one leaves without exchanging this information first.  Be sure to consider contacting One of the highest rated car wreck lawyers in the Houston Area as well.

Get a police report if there are injuries or property damage that exceeds $1,000

Contact your state’s DMV to ask about their rules on police reporting, but in many locations you may be required to report the accident yourself unless someone was seriously injured or killed. If this is the case, go to your nearest police station and file a report describing the facts of the accident and what you did to try and help. You should also ask for a copy of the police report, which will make it easier to file your insurance claim later.

Take pictures of the accident site

Take pictures of the accident site

Consider using your smartphone to take pictures of the accident site, including any skid marks left in the road. Make sure you take photos of how badly damaged your car is before you leave. If possible, take a picture with another car or object in frame for reference when describing the damage to your insurer. It’s also important to document any property damage that was done as a result of the accident.

Seek urgent care if anyone in the car appears to be seriously injured

If any passengers are bleeding from an open wound, vomiting repeatedly, have difficulty breathing, or have injuries that may indicate a more serious injury, it is important to call an urgent care facility and report these symptoms.

If the other driver’s insurance is not clear, call them to get it directly

Many drivers carry two kinds of auto insurance: liability and collision. Liability coverage will cover injuries to others if you are at fault in an accident while collision insurance covers damage done to your own vehicle in an accident. If this is the case, the other driver will need to give you their collision information before you can properly file an insurance claim.  They may also offer it freely, but if not you should call them immediately and ask for it yourself.

If you’ve found yourself in a car accident, the most urgent thing to do is make sure that no one has been seriously injured. If there are injuries or property damage that exceeds $1000, contact your state’s DMV for more information about whether police involvement is required.  Be sure to take pictures of all damages before leaving and get another driver’s insurance information if possible so it will be easier to file an insurance claim after the fact. It might seem like a lot at first glance-but with these simple steps, you’ll have everything under control!