Being involved in a car accident can be stressful and confusing. You may not know the steps to take immediately after, and this can negatively impact your claim in the future. For this reason, it’s vital to stay calm and make informed decisions.
Here is what you should do after a car accident:
Exchange contact and insurance information
You should ask the other driver to provide you with their vehicle’s registration number, their name and address and the identifying information of their passengers, if any. You should also exchange insurance information. It’s usually best to let the responding officer at the scene handle this so that you have minimal contact with the other driver. That can ease hostilities and keep you from saying anything that could be construed as an acceptance of fault.
Move your car away from traffic
If the accident does not result in a known or visible injury or death and none of the vehicles was transporting hazardous material, you should move your car, especially if you are on a busy road. Move the vehicle to a safe place close to the accident scene without obstructing traffic.
If you can’t move the vehicle for a reason unrelated to the factors mentioned above, you can permit a person with a valid operator’s license to do so. The responding police officer may also move your car, if necessary.
Take photos of the damage and scene
It is best to take photos of the vehicles’ positions, damages to your car, the surrounding area and any debris in the road before and after moving your vehicle. If you can’t gather such evidence, consider asking someone at the scene to help you. These photos can be invaluable if there needs to be an investigation into the cause of the accident or a determination of fault.
If you are involved in an accident, you should obtain adequate information to understand your options and legal rights.