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Post Car Accident Checklist

Even the safest drivers might not be able to avoid car accidents forever. While some fortunate people might be lucky enough to keep out of harm’s way on the road, this isn't common for the majority of drivers.

Many factors come into play when a car accident takes place. Although, if you follow the necessary post-accident steps correctly, it's possible to recover damages and settle your accident claim relatively quickly.

Since it's hard to know when an accident might take place, it's a good idea to have a few things with you like your driver's license, proof of insurance, and your vehicle registration. Having these things ahead of time can help you stay out of legal trouble because an officer can cite someone for driving without a license or proof of insurance.

To find out what exactly you need to do after a vehicle collision, use the following checklist to cover all your bases and protect yourself legally.

Car Accident Checklist

It's perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed after a car accident. It can also be hard to think rationally, but it's a good idea to cooperate and try to remain calm.

To protect your legal rights, follow these steps:

  • Don't leave the scene. Keep calm if possible; panicking can only make things worse
  • Determine if anyone has injuries. Call 911 if there is any need for medical attention
  • Let the police know about the accident right away even if there isn't property damage, injuries, or fatalities. They will need to have a record of the collision. You can do this after the fact, but it's easier to provide an accurate record the sooner you call
  • If the accident isn't serious, move the cars to the shoulder of the road so that they are out of moving traffic
  • Put the hazard lights on, if they aren't already
  • Photograph all angles of the various cars and the extent of any damage. It can also be useful to have photos of the area where the accident occurred, including any visibility-obstructing weather conditions such as rain or fog
  • Take notes if you need to include a great deal of information, including the other driver's contact information, insurance company contact information, and policy ID. Give the other drivers your contact information as well, because their insurance company might need to contact you
  • Speak with any witnesses who saw the accident and take note of their contact information
  • Never sign anything right after the accident besides a copy of the accident report. Don't admit that the accident was your fault
  • Stay at the scene of the accident as long as you are needed. Once the police give everyone permission to leave, you will also be free to go

Once you've left the location where the accident occurred, there are a few other actions you should take. These tasks can help recover damages you're entitled to and protect your rights.  

Final Steps After the Collision

First, give your insurance company a call to inform them about the collision. Then, obtain a copy of the accident report that the other drivers or police officer filed. Make a note of your injuries along with changing mental or physical conditions. Document your medical care and treatment plans carefully. Sometimes the other party’s insurance adjuster will want to speak to you after a car accident - speak carefully to them, as you don’t want to get yourself in trouble.

Finally, have a professional damage appraisal conducted if your insurance company doesn't schedule this for you. Don't give any statements to the insurance companies without speaking with a car accident attorney, who should be able to give you a free consultation to see if they can help you win the compensation that you deserve.

To sum it all up: if you've been in a car accident, there are many steps you'll need to take to tie up loose ends. A qualified car accident attorney can be invaluable in this process and can make the process move along relatively smoothly. No matter how you choose to act after a collision, be sure to act fast and cover all your bases to avoid future legal trouble.

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