Whether you caused a car accident or were a victim of one, there are six steps you should take immediately following the accident.
First, check to see whether you are injured. If you can move, try to get out of the car, but remember that just because you cannot immediately see or feel an injury does not mean you don’t need medical attention for peace of mind. If you cannot move easily and do not smell gas or see fire, stay where you are and wait for help to arrive.
Second, move your car only if necessary. Leave the car where it is if you can because that helps preserve the scene of the accident. But if you’re in traffic when the accident occurs and are not seriously injured, pull your car over on the shoulder and wait there with your hazard lights on.
Next, take pictures of the accident and any damage done. You’ll need proof of the accident when you file an insurance claim.
Be sure to gather all pertinent information, including the names of all drivers and passengers, the license plate numbers, makes, and models of all vehicles involved, all parties’ insurance information, eyewitness contact information, accident location, and the names and badge numbers of any police officers who respond to the scene.
Do not admit fault to any part of the accident. If you are asked by the police, just briefly explain the facts of what happened and don’t elaborate.
Lastly, speak with a trusted personal injury attorney. Even if you do not decide to sue the negligent driver, you still might need representation on your insurance claim. He or she can walk you through every deadline and help assemble important documentation.