7 things to know if you get into a car accident

Probably the most important thing to know if you get into a car accident is that you’re prepared to deal with it.  For example, you have a dashcam in place.  You also have a first-aid kit (and the knowledge to use it) and any other relevant emergency supplies.  Assuming all that is in place, here are 7 things to know if you get into a car accident.

Ensure safety for everyone.

This is your number one step.  You need to secure your own safety first.  Then ensure the safety of your passengers.  Then ensure the safety of anyone who might be passing by.  If necessary, then ensure the safety of your vehicle itself.  This is, however, your lowest priority.

Ideally, you want to leave your vehicle where it is if possible.  In practice, if your car is in the main road itself it will probably be causing a hazard.  If so, you need to move it.  Once you’ve established your car’s position, you need to decide if it’s safest for you to stay in it or to leave it.

Contact the police

This is probably a legal requirement.  Even if it isn’t, it’s probably a requirement of your insurance.  Even if it’s neither, it’s still a very sensible precaution.  Dialing 911 for a minor incident may seem extreme but it actually helps the police.  It may end up helping you too.  They will then tell you what to do and then you just follow their instructions.

Exchange relevant information

All you need to exchange are:

Full name and contact information

Insurer and policy number

Driver’s license details and license plate number

Color and model of your car

Location of the accident

For clarity, your contact information can be an email and/or telephone number rather than an address.  In fact, for obvious reasons, it’s usually extremely unwise to give out your home address.  You generally want to avoid giving out even your work address.

Never discuss the details of the accident, not even verbally.  No matter how obvious it seems, it’s not your job to apportion blame or liability.  It’s definitely not in your best interests to try to do so.

Make records of the accident

Your job is to establish the who, what and where.  Professionals will then work out the why and how.  The who should have been established when you exchanged details.  The what should have been at least mostly established by your dashcam.

The key point, therefore, is to establish the where.  You might also want to see if you can capture any additional details about the what.  The simplest way to do this is to use your phone’s camera to record the entire location either on video or on photo.  The entire location means everything that’s around you plus the ground and the sky.

If you spot anything you think may be at all relevant, make sure you capture it, preferably in close-up.  Basically, document everything you can think of to document and let the professionals decide what’s relevant.

Get a medical checkup

Even if it was just a minor prang, get checked anyway.  Some problems take time to manifest themselves in recognizable symptoms.  A doctor, however, may be able to pick them up through examination and get your treatment started.

Get your vehicle checked

Essentially the same comments apply here.

Contact your insurer

Always inform your insurer after an accident, even if you’re not making a claim (or being claimed against).  This is probably a condition of your policy.  Even if it’s not, it’s a wise precaution.  If nothing else, it should help to close a door against a future claim being declined on a technicality.