Confusion and stress are common responses to car crashes. It can take people a few minutes to even understand what happened. The moments right after a crash are essential, especially if the other driver is at fault.
Taking the right steps can make it easier for you to file an insurance claim or a civil lawsuit. Your first instinct will probably be to check yourself and the other people in your vehicle for injuries. You will also need to call for medical care or police assistance.
What else should you do once you have assessed everyone for serious medical concerns?
Start documenting the scene right away
As long as your phone didn’t get smashed or tossed out of the vehicle in the crash, you will want to start recording or taking photos right away. There is always a risk after a collision that one of the drivers won’t have insurance or a valid license and might try to flee the scene. Capturing pictures or video right away as you exit your vehicle could retain important information about the other vehicle.
It will also provide important evidence about the scene of the crash before you and the other driver move your vehicles to facilitate the flow of traffic. Those pictures and videos may play a role in your insurance claim or in any civil case that arises.
Exchange important information with the other driver
Your phone can also be a useful tool when it is time to share identification and insurance information with the other driver. You can take a photo of their paperwork instead of trying to write everything down, which can be difficult if you have an adrenal response to the crash.
Verifying early on how much coverage the other driver has will help you establish realistic expectations about the compensation you can claim and give you details about how to start that process.
Make sure you tell the police all of the major details about the crash
Part of the role of law enforcement at a crash scene is to investigate and create an official record about what happened and who is at fault. While police officers do have training in these matters, they could still overlook important information, especially if the other driver wants to hide how much responsibility they have.
Whether you heard the other driver admit that they fell asleep at the wheel or you saw them with their phone in their hand right before the crash, make sure you pass on any important information about what happened before the crash and your suspicions to the police.
If you have any reason to suspect that you or your passengers have significant injuries, it is also important to seek a medical evaluation before you move on with your day. Taking the right steps after a car crash can help you protect yourself physically, financially and legally.