It’s important to know how to handle a car accident before you’re in one. Circumstances surrounding an accident can be confusing and even disorienting for anyone, so here are some tips on the steps that need to be taken after a car accident.
Call the police or 911
Whether anyone is hurt or not, it’s important to have official records of any car accident. (In many jurisdictions, reporting an accident is the law.) If anyone is hurt, call 911. The dispatchers will alert relevant emergency responders, such as the police and an ambulance. If no one seems hurt, call local police. The police will write an accident report, containing information about what occurred, the circumstances (weather, traffic conditions, and so on), and who was responsible. They make take pictures. All of this can be helpful to insurance companies.
Exchange information with the other driver
Stay calm at the scene, no matter who was at fault. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Provide your name, telephone number, and e-mail address. Your home address is not necessary. Provide the name of your insurance carrier and your policy number.
Stay at the scene
As long as you’re not injured, don’t leave the scene until the police have completed their report and you have the other driver’s information. In many places, anyone who leaves the scene right away can be accused of a hit and run.
Get a doctor’s check-up
If you are injured, go to a doctor or emergency room right away. But be aware that you can be injured even if you don’t see bruises or bleeding. Head trauma, even hitting your head on a seat rest, can cause a concussion. Bruised ribs may be broken and cause further injury. There’s no substitute for being checked out by a doctor after an accident. Follow any recommendations for care to ensure that you come out of an accident with a clean bill of health.
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