Even with minor car accidents, the unexpected and sudden disturbance causes confusion. It may be difficult to reason out what to do first.
Taking these steps after a collision can keep you safe from further trauma and help with any insurance claims.
1. Assess the surroundings and contact the appropriate parties
According to U.S. News and World Report, the first thing to do is check for injuries of yourself and passengers as well as assess any potential dangers such as the smell of smoke or heavy traffic. If there are injuries or another crisis, you should call 911 right away. If not, move to safety, if possible, turn on your hazard lights and call the police to make an accident report.
2. Exchange information with other involved drivers
Every driver involved in the accident should exchange identifying and insurance information. This includes:
- Names, phone numbers, addresses and emails
- Driver’s license information
- Auto insurance companies and policy numbers
- License plate numbers
3. Record notes and pictures of the scene
Memory can fade quickly, so take notes about how the accident occurred and the names and contact information of any witnesses. Take pictures of the scene and all involved vehicles, including license plate numbers for easy reference. The more detail the better when it comes to filing a claim.
4. Contact your insurance company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the crash and begin the process of claim filing.
5. Monitor your physical and mental health
Even if you do not notice any injuries right away, monitor how you feel in the days following the accident. Soreness and other physical symptoms can take hours or even days to appear.
According to familydoctor.org, a crash victim is also vulnerable to post-traumatic stress syndrome. Keep an eye out for symptoms such as irritability, nightmares, anxiety, depression or ongoing invasive memories of the crash. If you have physical or mental symptoms after the accident, contact a health care provider to get the appropriate care.