Having a car accident can be challenging, but being prepared can help reduce the stress. To help you be prepared, we created this “what to do if you have a car accident” list.
Making your own list and learning what to do can help you deal with the stress of a car wreck. Keep the list with your auto registration and proof of insurance in your vehicle. For tips on reducing the stress after an accident, read this blog.
Items to keep in the car. What to do list, flares, pen, paper, flashlight, emergency blanket, jumper cables, towels, first aid kit & medical card, auto insurance & registration, and a list of emergency contacts.
Check for personal injury. Call 911 if medical assistance is necessary or if you are unsure. If you are able to do so, check on the person who hit you to see if they need medical assistance.
Do your best to remain calm. Take a deep breath. Get your list out if you don’t remember what to do!
Collect information about the other cars ASAP (year, make, model, license, registration), in case they drive off.
Move the vehicles to a safe zone, for minor accidents, away from traffic. Otherwise, turn on your hazard lights, and set up flares or hazard cones.
Call the police, cooperate fully, and get the report if one is issued. Most police departments have the report ready within 5-10 days and often do not charge for a copy of the report if you were directly involved in the collision.
Do not admit fault or make a recorded statement. State only the facts and limit your conversation to the police and your insurance company. Statements made in the heat of the moment may come back to haunt you later.
Check for vehicle damage and take pictures of the damage.
Collect contact info from all parties to the accident (other drivers, witnesses, police officer, tow truck driver).
Contact your insurance company to report the incident.
If you are injured, get medical treatment and a complete examination. Do not wait to see if you start feeling better. Many insurance companies will penalize you for waiting for treatment and will say that you were not hurt very badly if you were able to wait several hours or days before seeking treatment. Waiting will unfairly devalue your claim.
You may want to contact a personal injury lawyer to protect your rights. Anna Betts and Sean Keith have represented hundreds of accident victims in Northwest Arkansas. Call today at 479-621-0006.