None of us want to be involved in one – but, serious automobile accidents happen and what you do next can be of great importance. Providing you aren’t badly hurt, the first thing you want to do is get your bearings. Don’t immediately jump out of the car. It may not be safe to do so, depending on where the accident occurred. Also, before you start worrying about your auto insurance rates going up, steady your nerves and do an inventory of your body parts for anything that hurts, feels broken, or might be bleeding.
Of course, if you are injured and have trouble moving, stay in the car and wait for assistance from the EMTs. However, if you’re okay to move, turn off the ignition, and if it’s safe to do so, get out of the car. While some people may tell you to first determine who’s at fault in an accident, you may want to check on the other driver to make sure he’s uninjured as well. If he’s also come out of the crash unhurt, you may want to proceed to the following steps:
1. Piece the crash together
Begin to piece together as much of the crash as possible so your facts are fresh and straight in your mind. Jot down some notes if necessary. Go over details you remember leading up to the accident. Keep in mind the other driver will more than likely have a different version of what happened. That’s why, leave nothing to memory later or you may wind up having a hard time defending yourself in court or in a claim with conflicting stories.
2. Set the scene of the accident
If the accident has left you okay but your car disabled, turn on your emergency flashers and call 911 to deal with anyone who might be injured or shaken up, as well as clear the wrecked cars. You may want to put down some road flares as well if you have any.
3. Take pictures of the scene
Using your cell phone camera or a disposable emergency kit camera, take pictures of the accident scene, including pictures of both damaged cars. Providing your insurer with photographic evidence to protect your interests in court is essential.
4. Talk to the other driver
If the other driver is unhurt, exchange insurance information, but don’t get into an argument with them, regardless of whose fault it is. Don’t admit to anything or it can come back and bite you if you end up in court, especially if you believe it might have been your fault. It’s best to keep it to yourself and let the authorities and opposing insurance companies sort it out. If there is blame to assign, they’ll do it. After all, you don’t want to confess to causing an accident if it turns out you weren’t responsible.
5. Check for witnesses
If you feel you are not at fault and witnesses step forward to corroborate your side of the story, make sure to get their names and contact information. They could be of importance to you later on.
Ultimately, the most important thing if you’re involved in a serious automobile accident is your safety and that of the other drivers. Documenting the accident, taking pictures, and getting your facts straight will be to your advantage in the end.
It’s also to your advantage to make sure you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Have you been involved in a serious automobile accident that required documentation to prove you weren’t at fault? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.