The shock that comes from being in an accident is enough to leave anyone confused. Considering how common car accidents are, every driver should know the steps to take immediately after an accident. This way, you’ll be better able to protect yourself and other road users and significantly improve your chances of getting compensated.

In the midst of such unforeseen events, having a reliable car accident guide at your disposal can be the compass steering you through the intricacies of post-collision procedures, providing a comprehensive roadmap to navigate the aftermath with confidence.

Here’s what to do immediately after an accident.

Try Keeping Yourself Calm With Deep Breaths

Most people experience an emotional overload after an accident. Shortly after getting hit, you may feel shock, fear, anger, guilt, and a myriad of other emotions, all of which are normal. Unfortunately, being overly emotional in a tense situation can limit your preparedness to handle the situation.

Therefore, this car accident guide suggests you should first try to calm yourself. One of the most effective ways to do this is by counting to 10 and taking deep breaths. In time, the initial shock of the accident will wear off, enabling you to better judge the situation.

Make Sure Everyone Is Safe

You can’t be of much help to anyone if you’re not okay yourself. So, start by checking yourself for injuries. Check for any bleeding and note where you feel pain. Do the same for anyone in the vehicle with you. If you are unable to move or in a situation where it may not be safe to do so, try reaching for your phone to contact the relevant emergency services.

If you are okay and can move freely, try getting out of the vehicle and checking on the other driver. You should also turn on your hazard lights or place cones, emergency flares, or triangles at the accident site to alert other road users.

Depending on where the accident occurred and the state of your vehicle, you could also try moving it out of the way to free up traffic. However, you should note that some states have laws prohibiting you from moving your vehicle from an accident scene before the police arrive. Therefore, it is important to consider relevant state laws or consult emergency services before moving your vehicle.

Report the Accident

This car accident guide suggests that after ensuring everyone is safe, move your vehicle to a safe place (if your state laws allow it), call the police, an ambulance, or fire and rescue. You should only call an ambulance and rescue services if someone is seriously hurt or unable to get out of their vehicle.

While you’re at it, make sure to provide the precise location of your accident. However, you could also give a nearby location if you’re not exactly sure where you are. This could be anything from mile markings and travel directions to any significant landmark that could give emergency services a rough idea of where you are.

Most state laws require you to call the police after an accident. However, in some cases, the police may not be readily available. There’s also the possibility that they may not be able to come to the accident scene. In such cases, it is advisable to get yourself to the nearest police station and file a report. Documenting your police report comes in handy, especially when seeking damages or getting sued by the other driver.

Talking to the Other Driver – What Not to Do

92% of road users witnessed significant road rage or incidents of aggressive driving in 2023. Therefore, while it may seem polite to talk to the other driver, you should only do so if it feels safe.

Furthermore, when talking to the other driver, you should avoid making admissions or apologizing, even if you feel the accident was your fault. Apologizing or making any admissions could be taken as an admission of guilt, thereby hurting your chances of getting compensated or winning a personal injury case against the other driver.

When talking to the other driver, especially when the police are not around, try sticking to small talk. This car accident guide suggests that if the conversation gets serious, stick to the facts and do not discuss who was at fault or how much insurance you have. You can leave that to the police and accident investigators.

You should also refrain from making any deals with the other driver or accepting cash for any damage caused. Any handshake deal between you and the other river could be taken as a settlement, limiting your chances of getting further compensation if the damage is more significant than initially thought.

Collect Relevant Information

Besides ensuring you and everyone else involved in the accident is safe, this is perhaps the most important thing to do after an accident. Insurance claims, like all cases, require a ton of supporting evidence. As such, you should try to gather as much evidence as you can.

However, before getting to the evidence, you should first get basic information, such as:

  • The other driver’s name and contact information
  • Their license and license plate number
  • The name of their insurance company and policy number
  • Model and color of the other driver’s vehicle
  • The accident location

Once you have that information, it’s time to move on to a more crucial factor: evidence. For this, you should start by taking pictures, recording videos, and writing down all you can remember about the accident while it’s still fresh.

Start the Claims Process

Personal injury cases and insurance claims usually have an extended statute of limitations, between one and three years depending on the state. However, it is advisable to start the claims process immediately.

If you were injured, you may have to wait until you recover. However, for minor accidents where nobody was injured, you should start the insurance claims process shortly after the accident.

While you’re at it, notify your insurance company of the accident. You can file a claim with your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer. Regardless of your choice, you should make sure you have a documented police report and necessary evidence to support your claim. You can also contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you negotiate a suitable settlement.

Your Car Accident Guide

Car accidents can be a traumatizing experience. However, you should do your best to take charge of the situation to guarantee your safety and increase your chances of getting compensated.

For the best results, it is advisable to contact the police and relevant emergency services as soon as the accident happens. You should also avoid talking to aggravated drivers, apologizing, or admitting fault, as it may put you in danger or hurt your claims process.