No one ever wants to be involved in a car accident. But if you are, there are some steps you should take to ensure the best possible outcome.
Here are some tips for what to do after a car accident:
1. Determine If You or Your Passengers Are Injured
The first thing you should do after an accident is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries. If you are seriously injured and cannot move, wait for emergency medical personnel to arrive.
If you can move, try to get to a safe place on the side of the road. This will help you avoid being hit by oncoming traffic. Be sure to put your vehicle's hazard lights on to ensure other drivers are aware of the accident.
2. Call 911
Even if there is no serious damage, it's always a good idea to call the police after an accident. The police can help to document what happened and file a report.
This can be helpful later if there is a dispute about what happened. Even without a dispute, however, a police report is often required to file a claim with your insurer.
3. Exchange Information With the Other Driver
Once you are both in a safe place, exchange information with the other driver. You will need their name, insurance information, license plate number, and contact information such as their phone number.
Be sure to avoid discussing who is responsible for the accident. Anything you say at the accident scene can be used against you later.
If the other driver tries to argue with you, stay calm and assert your desire to keep liability talks between your insurance companies. If they appear to behave aggressively, remain in your car and wait for the police to arrive.
4. Document Everything
Before anyone leaves the scene, take pictures of the damage to both vehicles involved in the accident. You should also document any property damaged in the accident. It's also a good idea to get any witnesses names and contact information.
If you are injured, take photos of any visible signs of injury, such as bruises or lacerations, as soon as possible. This will help you prove that the injuries were caused by the accident.
5. Request a Tow Truck if Needed
If your vehicle is not drivable after the accident, you need to call a tow truck. Be sure to get the name and contact information of the tow truck company so that your insurance company can arrange payment.
If your vehicle is drivable but has sustained visible damage, you can either drive it to a nearby auto body shop or take it home while you collect your thoughts.
6. Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
Once you have gathered all the necessary information, contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. You should be able to call them, but some auto insurance companies have mobile apps that allow policyholders to report accidents and file claims from their devices.
Be prepared to give the insurance company the police report number and any other documentation you have collected. Your insurer will likely ask you for a recorded statement about what happened in the accident.
If the other driver's insurer contacts you, you are only obligated to give them your name and contact information. Do not discuss what happened in the accident or who is at fault.
7. Visit Your Doctor
Even if you don't think you were injured in the accident, it's important to visit your doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as possible. Many injuries, such as whiplash, do not cause immediate pain but can still be serious if left untreated.
Be sure to tell your doctor that you were in a motor vehicle accident and provide details about what happened and the injuries you sustained. This will help to ensure that any injuries and their connection to the accident are properly documented.
Be sure to request a copy of all medical bills and records, as you may need these later if you file an injury claim.
8. Contact a Car Accident Attorney
If you sustained significant injuries in the accident, you might want to consider hiring an attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the claims process, deal with insurance companies, and, if necessary, file a personal injury lawsuit. And if you have any questions about what to do after a car accident, they'll be able to guide you in the right direction.
Be sure to contact an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. There is usually a statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits, so it's important to act quickly.
9. Get Your Car Repaired If You Haven't Already
If you didn't have your vehicle towed away after the accident, you should take it to an auto repair facility like D-1 Auto Body. Even if there is no visible damage to your vehicle, there may be internal damage that you cannot see. Getting those hidden issues addressed early can help ensure your car is safe to drive.
Once the insurance company has processed your claim, they will likely pay to have your vehicle repaired. If you have already had your car repaired, they will reimburse you for the cost of repairs. Be sure to ask your insurance company to provide a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop. If any additional questions arise about what is or is not covered by your insurance policy, it's a good idea to contact your agent or insurer for clarification.
If you are looking for an auto body shop in Los Angeles that offers exceptional customer service, look no further than D-1 Auto Body. With the right team of auto body professionals on your side, you can effortlessly navigate the aftermath of a car accident and get back on the road in no time.