Car accidents are stressful situations, and it’s easy to get so caught up in moments like these that you can’t remember what you’re supposed to do. If you familiarize yourself with the right steps to follow after an accident, it will be easier to remember what to do should such a situation ever occur.
Stop your car if it has been involved in an accident. Once you’ve stopped, decide whether you need to call the police and get help. You must do so if someone has been injured or killed, there is significant damage to one or both vehicles or to surrounding property, if a driver is uninsured, or if a pedestrian or cyclist was involved
If none of the above are true, you can leave after exchanging information with other drivers. You must still report the accident to the Collision Reporting Centre within a day.
Don’t try to move an injured person to avoid making their injuries worse. Do what you can to make them comfortable and be sure to call for an ambulance.
The second priority is to make sure there are no further injuries. This means moving vehicles if they pose a danger to others. If you can’t move or are concerned about moving, put on hazard lights, put down cones or warning triangles, or, in severe cases, activate flares to alert other drivers.
If at all possible, take pictures or video of the scene. Only do this if the situation is safe. Once you have taken care of any injured parties and called the police, you can then ask bystanders if any of them witnessed the accident and if they would be willing to testify to what they saw. Be sure to get names and contact information.
As soon as safely possible, get in touch with your insurance company and notify them of the occurrence. You will want to file a claim with them as soon as possible. If you do not report your claim quickly, there is a chance your insurance company will not honor the claim.
After an accident, emotions tend to run high. Try to stay calm and avoid discussing the accident with anyone other than the police, your insurance company, and your own lawyer. If you get a call from another driver’s insurance company, do not discuss the matter. Instead, refer them to your car accident lawyer and hang up.
Never volunteer responsibility for the accident or sign anything admitting liability. Even if you are 100% sure the accident was your fault, you could be wrong. Memories are sometimes faulty; even fresh ones. Something may have happened to or in the other vehicle just before the accident that you know nothing about. Wait for the police and insurance to do a full investigation.
It’s always a good idea to get an attorney if you’ve been in a car accident. A car accident can mean expensive medical bills and loss of income for you, and if someone else’s negligence led to it, it’s important that you have a lawyer on your side to ensure your rights are protected. You may also need a lawyer to help protect you from the claims of others and to help you talk with the insurance companies involved.
No one wants to be in a car accident, but accidents do happen. If you have been involved in one, be sure to follow these steps to make sure you’re in compliance with the law, you’re protecting yourself and others, and that your rights are defended.