Car accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of experience and defensive driving technique. Even fender benders and other minor accidents can be very emotionally and psychologically disruptive, so it’s easy to overlook things and make mistakes that can cause problems later. Despite the shock and distress in the aftermath, there are a few basic best practices to observe.
Check for Injury
The moments after an accident can seem like an eternity but are also often a “black hole” in people’s memories later on. The most important thing is to keep your head and focus on one task at a time. The first thing drivers and adult passengers should do is check themselves for injury, particularly cuts or punctures from broken glass. Then they should check other passengers in the vehicle before getting out to check on the people in the other cars if any.
Drivers should always exchange contact and insurance information even if there are no visible signs of damage. Collisions can cost thousands of dollars in repairs even with minimal visible damage. Drivers should also take pictures of both cars and the location of the accident if possible.
If there is any sign of conflict, dispute, or injury of anyone, drivers should contact emergency services. Police officers offer a mediating presence to stabilize and control the situation, which can be a great benefit when emotions are running hot. It’s also important to get medical help there as quickly as possible if anyone is hurt.
Seek Legal Counsel
In the days following the accident, it’s a good idea to contact an auto accident attorney to review your situation. Even if you have no intentions of filing or defending against a claim at the moment, taking this step as a precaution can be invaluable. An attorney can offer guidance on how to proceed to best protect yourself.
Collect Evidence and Testimony
Save as much information as you can relating to the accident for at least a few years. It’s very possible for lawsuits to emerge years following, which makes it almost impossible to get reliable testimony. That’s why you should collect eyewitness testimony and pictures of everything during the immediate aftermath.
Most regular drivers are involved in at least one accident during their lifetime, so it’s something everyone should be ready to face. Even though you can’t control everything, you can choose how you handle these situations when they arise. Make a wise decision and don’t cut any corners after an accident.