After a vehicle collision, if you and the other driver are reasonably unhurt, being proactive at the scene can often prevent a bad situation from getting messier as you work through the police and insurance process. Here are five steps you can follow that may help you stay focused immediately following the crash:
- Stay at the scene and take action to prevent more collisions
Hit-and-runs are illegal — never leave the scene of an accident, even if it is so minor that you barely noticed it. If you are in a lot of traffic or in a place that is either obscured or dark, take any necessary steps to make the scene as visible as possible so that other cars can see and avoid you.
- Call the police and document the accident
If the police haven’t already arrived, it is generally a good idea to call them. While you wait for them to arrive and make a report, you should take pictures of the scene and the damage and write down as much as you can while the accident is fresh in your mind. In addition to providing this documentation to your insurance company, a personal injury law firm Hillsborough County may need this information to pursue a claim.
- Get driver information and notify your insurance agency
Before you leave, exchange contact and insurance information with all the other drivers involved in the collision. If the police cannot provide a copy of the report to you right away, get the report number from the officer so you can call and get one later. Your insurance policy most likely requires you to report the incident to them, and you should do so immediately.
- Seek medical attention
If you, the other driver or any passengers suffer more than minor cuts or bruises, this should be your first step. Otherwise, seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t feel hurt. Some injuries common to car accidents may not appear right away. In particular, head trauma could be deadly if left untreated.
- Start a file for all related documents
Keep everything: police reports, insurance documents, medical records, witness statements, and photos, to name a few. Even if you don’t believe follow-up action is necessary, this information could come in handy if you change your mind later.
The aftermath following a car accident can vary from an inconvenience to life-changing trauma. Following these steps from the beginning may be able to help you lessen the negative impact of the events that follow.