Getting into a car accident can be extremely traumatizing for anyone – whether you have been driving for 40 years or you are driving for the first time. While your mind is flying a million miles an hour, you will likely be unable to act out of shock for at least a few minutes. However, there are some basic things that you should do to ensure that you can move on from the accident with your dignity, bank account, and safety intact.
The first thing you need to do is stay calm and ensure that you are thinking clearly. There are several fundamental things that you need to do almost immediately – and with so much going on, you need to be able to think and remember what to do. Educating young drivers on this and refreshing yourself on what to do after a car accident can help you to act accordingly when or if the time comes. There is nothing wrong with being too prepared – it can make all the difference.
So, what should you do after a car accident? Here is our guide to the first few things to do:
Always Remember That Safety Matters – For You, The Other Driver, and Everyone Else
Safety should be your primary concern. If the accident was minor, try to move your vehicle out of traffic and to a safe place. If it was not, use cones, warning triangles, or flares if you have them. You want to get yourself out of the road and to safety. It might not be possible to get your car there, but make sure your body is and, if possible, the bodies of everyone involved. Do not try to go onto busy roadways to clear anything. If there isn’t traffic, you should snap a picture before moving anything if that is possible for you to do. Shift your car into park, turn it off, and turn on the hazard lights if you cannot move. Get out of the car – you do not know what might happen, even if the damage appears to be minimal.
Get Help For Yourself & Others
The next step is to get help from police and emergency services, if necessary. Police may be required for traffic help, especially if you are blocking the road. In general, a police report can be extremely valuable throughout the claim process and can help to establish who is at fault for the accident.
Call for an ambulance if you believe there are injuries. It is always better to be cautious and get help now. You can take care of other steps later if necessary: your own safety is the most important thing. Make sure to get checked out if you hit your head at all, as you may feel fine now but may have a concussion.
Collect Relevant Information
You want to collect information from your car, the other car(s) involved, and from the scene of the accident. This can take a while, but you want to do it as quickly as possible, especially when it is weather or time sensitive information.
At the very least, gather the following information:
• Driver and passenger information: names and contact information
• Vehicle descriptions (make, model, year)
• Driver’s license numbers
• License plate numbers
• The insurance company and policy numbers of everyone involved
• Witnesses: names and contact information
• Accident scene location and/or address
• Police officer’s name and badge number
You want to take pictures wherever possible, if it is safe. Photograph the cars involved, any of your own injuries, and road conditions. Do not sign any documents that someone might give you, whether they are from the police or the other driver.
Most importantly, do not tell anyone that the accident was your fault, even if you believe that you may have caused it.
Contact An Omaha Car Accident Lawyer
Getting into a car accident can be an extremely trying and emotional time, but you cannot forget that you are responsible for handling everything. To alleviate some of that pressure, working with a personal injury and accident lawyer can help you to understand what you are facing and how to move on from the situation.
Matthew G. Miller is a trusted Omaha accident lawyer who helps people to get their lives back on track and move on from an auto accident. Whether you are seeking compensation for your injuries or you just want to talk about your case to evaluate your options, contact our law office today to schedule a consultation.