Whether you see an accident or are the victim of one, it’s vital to keep a clear head. Every second counts—not only in terms of injuries and lives but also in long-term effects on finances and insurance. Being forewarned means being forearmed; there are things you can do in the immediate aftermath of the accident to relieve future pain, suffering, and financial strife. So, what are your first steps after an accident?
Check To See If Anyone Is Hurt
If you’re involved in the accident yourself—whether it’s a car accident, workplace injury, or another occurrence—assess your own state first. If you’re severely injured and in no immediate danger, don’t move, and wait for medical personnel to arrive. If you seem alright, check if anyone around you has been injured. Additionally, assess the safety of the surrounding area—are there hazards like loose electric lines or spilled chemicals? Try to help, but be cautious, and don’t move someone unless you must.
Call for Help
Whether there are obvious injuries or not, always call 911. Paramedics will arrive to assess and treat any issues and police should be present to help redirect traffic and file an official report on the event. This is vital because a police report is a legal record containing official statements from all involved in the incident. Provide an honest accounting of the facts from your perspective.
Make Your Own Record
Get out your phone and take pictures of the scene. Collect everyone’s personal, contact, and insurance information (including all the witnesses.) Also gather license plates and the make and models of the cars involved, location, time and date, and anything else that might seem pertinent.
Offer no apologies or admittance of fault. It may well be that even if you think otherwise at first, it may not be your fault at all. Another piece of advice offered by most experts is to resist the urge to share your accident on social media. It could come back and hurt your case.
Contact Your Insurance Company and Attorney
What are your first steps after an accident? We’ve covered the things you need to do immediately, but what about in the coming days? Make sure you contact your insurance company and provide them with the details they need for you to file a claim, so you set the wheels in motion for future payments. Talk to your attorney about the next steps in case the incident sparks a lawsuit so you can be prepared for the worst.