What to Do If You’re in a Car Accident: Five-Point Checklist

Car accidents are some of the scariest things to go through in life, but if you’re behind the wheel, chances are that you might have to face one at some point – either by your own fault or someone else’s.

They can be a lot to deal with, which is why you need to be prepared for them beforehand. A lot of things that you go through at the time are hard to deal with, but they’re also important to document in case any future legal action is needed or taken against you.

If you’d like to know more about what you should do if you’re in a car accident, keep reading!

1.  Make Sure Everyone is Okay


This is the first and arguably the most important thing. Before you start worrying about the car or the scene or your liability or your insurance, make sure everyone at the scene is safe, and call an ambulance and paramedics even if everyone looks okay – sometimes broken bones and bruises can’t be felt until the shock wears off, and certain internal injuries don’t look bad on the outside at all.

Once you’re sure everyone is safe and has been taken care of, you can think about other things like exchanging information with the other party involved, or figuring out a way to get home if you can’t move your car.

2.  Call the Police and Report the Accident


If your car has been hit, make sure you call the police immediately – especially if it’s a hit and run. Even if it’s not, you need to stay there and talk to the police about what happened.

This involves telling them if you think that the driver of the vehicle was under the influence and having them record everything. Make sure to remember their names and badge numbers, and show them your own driving license and other important information.

3.  Record Everything

Take photos of the scene and don’t move anything until the police are done investigating and documenting it. You should also make a rough drawing of where everyone was and how the accident happened, as a small map to remember the sequence of events.

This is all to make sure that all this information is available later and as accurate as possible for legal proceedings and any damage claims that need to be made against the party responsible.

This will also help you get more info from your personal injury lawyer later – the better the evidence you recorded, the more they can help you with the civil lawsuit proceedings, should it come to that.

4.  Let Other Drivers Know

If you’ve been in an accident and your car is in a position that makes it hard for other cars to pass through, make sure there is an obvious sign on the road to let people know. You can also leave your lights on at night if that improves visibility.

In case you fail to do this, you might be responsible for any car that bumps into yours or is damaged because of the way your car was positioned. If your car is blocking the way for others, you can even move it before the police get to the scene.

5.  If It’s Your Fault, Stay

Even if it’s your fault the accident happened, it’s never a good idea to flee the scene. In case of minor accidents where you weren’t injured and don’t need to go to the hospital, fleeing the scene is a crime and can land you into a whole different kind of trouble than you’ll have if you stay and exchange information, and then do the responsible thing.

You’ll also need to give the aggrieved party your driver’s license so they can record your information and do the same for them.

What to Do if Your Car Breaks Down
  • If your car breaks down in the middle of the road, whether it caused another accident or not, you need to stay calm and think rationally.
  • The first thing you need to do is make sure that you get your car out of the way of incoming traffic and people. This might mean pulling over as soon as you see that your car might stop, or to move it to the side later.
  • If you’re in a populated area, you can lock your car and walk to help. But if you had the misfortune of not being near civilization, lock your car, close the windows, and stay inside. Make whatever calls necessary and then stay put – especially at night.
  • In case there’s a danger of your car hitting oncoming traffic – which you might be held liable for – on a busy road, make sure to turn on your hazard lights, and even the interior lights if it’s night time.

Look Out for Injuries

Your body goes into shock shortly after you’re in a car accident, and you need to stay put and seek medical attention as soon as possible even if no one is visibly injured. This is because your body might have gone into survival mode and you might not be able to feel the injuries on your body yet.

Most people say that they feel the most pain the day after the accident or even later than that, which is why you’ll need to prioritize getting the proper medical checkups as soon as you’re able to. If you feel any kind of discomfort moving around or walking, be careful. This might be a warning sign that should not be ignored.

To summarize what has been said in this article – if you’ve been in a car accident you need to make sure everyone (including yourself) is okay and then call for help. Exchange information with the other party if there’s one involved in the accident, and record and photograph everything.

Make sure to stay inside the car in case help will take a while to reach you and keep your doors locked, and never forget to get a thorough medical checkup even if you feel like nothing is wrong.

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