A motor vehicle accident can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience for drivers and passengers alike. In the chaotic moments after a collision, there are several important steps for motorists and passengers to consider, including:
Your well-being should be the first priority, so make sure that you and your passengers are safe and move to a secure location if necessary. Don’t stand near or between vehicles. However, don’t leave the general scene of the accident.
If your vehicle is not operable, turn on your warning lights and/or open your hood to warn other drivers who may be approaching the accident scene. If possible, put out flares in the safest possible manner to warn oncoming traffic.
Call the police and follow their instructions. In minor accidents, authorities often instruct motorists to exchange information and contact their respective insurance companies.
Collect information about the other drivers, including driver’s license numbers, addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy information, vehicle license plate numbers, vehicle identification numbers and registration data. Also be sure to collect the contact information for any passengers or witnesses.
Do not discuss the accident at the scene with others who may be at fault, or their passengers.
Take pictures of the accident scene and damage to the vehicles and any structures, but do so only if you can remain at a safe distance.
Communicate with your insurance company about towing your vehicle, obtaining a rental replacement, and arranging for repairs.
Even if you feel like you are not injured, withhold comments until after the initial adrenalin rush has subsided and you’ve had enough time to adequately assess your physical health.
If you have been injured, you’re at a disadvantage when dealing directly with an insurance company, which will already have access to attorneys. It is crucial to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney before accepting a settlement. Insurance companies may try to offer a settlement that does not adequately cover your expenses.
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