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What to do if You are Involved in a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is a horrible experience, and hopefully, one that won’t affect you personally. However, it is always best to be prepared, so in the unfortunate event that you were involved in a vehicle accident, either as the driver or a passenger in the car, you know what to do.

At this emotional time it is a good idea to already have a clear idea in your mind of what needs to be done in the event of an accident so that although you may not be thinking with as much clarity as usual, you are still able to handle the situation in the right way.

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What to do if You are Involved in a Car Accident

At the time of the accident taking place, you may feel upset, anxious, shaken, angry, or you may even feel in shock. It is also likely that you could be feeling a mixture of these all emotions. At this emotional time it is a good idea to already have a clear idea in your mind of what needs to be done in the event of an accident so that, although you may not be thinking with as much clarity as usual, you are still able to handle the situation in the right way.


Be Prepared

Make sure that you have the necessary items in your car in the event of being involved in a collision. Useful items include a flashlight, blanket/travel rug, cellphone, first aid kit, the number of a towing company, pen and notebook. You should also make sure that you have details readily available such as your drivers’ license and insurance details.


At the Scene of an Accident

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a road traffic accident, it is essential to follow the necessary processes for reporting your accident as these may differ from state to state.

You are likely to be feeling a whole range of emotions, but as best as you can try to stay calm, and to think clearly about what you need to do in this situation.

Remember, that the other drivers and passengers involved may also be feeling rather emotional and possibly angry, so try not to escalate the situation further. You should never accept responsibility for the accident or behave in such a way that indicates you were responsible for causing it. You should also never let other parties know how much insurance coverage you have. Unfortunately, there are people out there that cause road traffic accidents deliberately for their own gain, and who will be interested to know how much insurance coverage that you have.

Health and safety come first, so you should make sure that neither yourself or anyone else has been injured in the accident. It is also crucial to check that no one is in danger, for example, trapped in a vehicle which is on fire. If anyone is injured or at risk of becoming injured, you should call the appropriate emergency services for assistance at the scene. If another driver involved in the collision appears to be drunk or have taken drugs, you may want to call the police, as this could be a significant factor in the cause of the accident happening in the first place.

When at the scene of an accident always keep in mind that there will still be other vehicles using the road, so take care not to walk or wait in areas where you could be hit by a car. If you are able to, put on your hazard warning lights to warn other approaching vehicles that an incident lies ahead.

Take out your notebook and pen to record the time that the accident took place, and make a note of all the vehicles that are involved in the crash. Take details of their drivers, including their insurance details and contact details, along with their license plate number too. It is also essential to take down details of any passengers traveling in the cars; this is because they may try to make a claim for injury further down the line, and are also potential witnesses.

You may find it helpful to write down the basic facts about the accident, including the time it occurred, the weather conditions, what happened in the build-up to the crash, e.g. vehicle x cut in front, vehicle y ran a red light, etc. This information will come in useful if you have been injured and require the services of a personal injury lawyer. A personal injury lawyer such as can help to handle a claim for you in cases where you were injured due to the actions of another motorist. Writing down the facts of the incident while they are still fresh in your mind is a good idea so that you can pass them onto your lawyer if needed.

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Use your cell phone to take photos of the positioning of the cars involved in the accident before they have been moved if it is safe for you to do so. If there are any other relevant factors involved in the accident, such as debris on the road, a traffic signal that is out of order etc., you may also want to take pictures of these too.

If you don’t have your cell phone, or it isn’t safe for you to take photos, you should attempt to sketch out the positioning of the cars on the road and any other relevant details in your notepad. This will provide you with the evidence you need to keep the details of the accident fresh in your mind when reporting it to your insurance company or the police.


Contacting Your Insurer

It is essential to report the accident to your insurer as soon as you are able to do so to enable them to begin processing your claim and so that they can handle contact between the other driver’s insurance company.

As being involved in an accident can be a stressful time, as well as emotionally draining it is useful to refer back to the notes that you made at the scene and the photographs that you took when giving details to your insurance company. Referring back to the facts of the incident and any photographic evidence that you have will help you to deal with the paperwork and reporting side of the accident much more easily.

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  • Briana Marie

    Briana Marie is a mental health and financial literacy advocate, and founder of Major League Mommy. In her spare time, Briana enjoys yoga, travel, and spending time with her Husband and two daughters.

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