If you are in a car accident, it is common to feel confused and a bit shaky. In this state, it can be hard to know what the proper steps are.
Even if you are in a minor fender bender, there are certain things you should do to ensure your insurance covers your claim and that there is proper treatment of any injuries.
1. Inspect the scene for risks and injuries
According to AARP, the first thing to do is examine the scene for any hazards, such as fire or heavy traffic. Next, check to see if you or your passengers are suffering from potential serious or life-threatening injuries.
2. Contact emergency services or move to the side
If there are serious injuries, call 911. If not, do your best to move the involved vehicles to the side of the road or to a safe area.
3. Call the police
Even with minor accidents, you should call the police. They will take statements from all drivers and witnesses and inspect the scene thoroughly. A police report is also helpful when filing an insurance claim.
4. Exchange information
While you wait for the police to arrive, exchange information with the other drivers. This includes names, contact info, driver’s license numbers, insurance information and license plate numbers.
5. Observe and take notes
When you are able to, jot down notes about how the crash occurred. The more detailed the better, as it helps with the insurance claim.
6. Call your insurance company
Either while you are at the scene, or shortly after you leave, FindLaw states that you should call your insurance company as soon as possible. This gets the ball rolling for filing a claim.
7. Be aware of delayed symptoms
Even if you did not notice any injuries or symptoms at the scene, symptoms may begin showing up once the adrenaline wears off or even a couple days later. Headaches, neck or back pain, tingling, dizziness and fogginess are signs of soft tissue or brain injury, and you should seek treatment right away to prevent more serious issues.