Although cars are equipped with advanced safety features and drivers are now more cautious than ever, road accidents are still on the rise. There can be several reasons behind them – negligent driving, intoxicated driving, overspeeding, traffic law violations or simply bad fate.
Having been involved in a car accident can be overwhelming, often followed by panic, palpitations and chaos. As much as it is tough to process what has happened after an accident, it is essential to follow a few basic steps to keep you safe and help you win your legal claim. If you are not heavily injured, we advise you to follow these steps seriously.
Step 1. Do not flee the accident scene
Even if you feel that the accident was not a major one, fleeing the accident site is not recommended. It is unethical and you might end up in jail or face huge fines. Why risk that? In Canada, it is a criminal offense to run away from the accident site. Dial 911 and call the police. It is mandatory in some states, and additionally, the police will help draft a formal report which will help you determine the fault in a car accident.
If you or the other driver involved in the accident were injured, or you notice signs of an illegal activity or neglected driving, informing the police can give you an edge over the other party.
Step 2. Shoot the accident site
After your heartbeat returns to normal, you should take a look around and take photos of the accident site. These photos should include the state of the vehicles after an accident, condition of the road, any traffic signals, weather conditions and witnesses.
Step 3. Move your car to a safe place, if possible
When it’s safe to do so and if you can, move your car to the side of the road, away from the traffic. If your car is no longer in movable condition, ensure the hazard lights are on to alert passing drivers of an accident.
Step 4. Exchange important information with other driver and record other details
Collect this basic information from the site-
- Name and address of the at-fault drivers’
- Contact Details
- Vehicle Plate Number
- Drivers’ License Numbers
- Information on each driver’s certificate of insurance
- Name and address of each vehicle owner as listed on their vehicle registration certificate
- Vehicle Identification Number
- Name and Contact details of the passengers seated in the other vehicle, if any.
Step 5: Start documenting and Recording the details of the accident
Additionally, there are several other details you need to record following a car accident. You can use the audio recorder on your phone, a text app, gmail, or a pen and paper to document what happened.
- Witnesses Contact Information
- The name of the police officer number and Badge Details
- Date and Time of the accident
- Road conditions (cracks, potholes, etc.)
- Weather conditions (Dry, Rain, Icy)
- Estimated speed at the time of the accident
- Any objects like animals
Step 6. Notify your insurer
If you were responsible for the accident, you may not be entitled to compensation from the other party. However, if the other driver was responsible for the accident, you should start the legal proceedings. File a report within 7 days. If not, your insurance company can reject your claim.
What happens next after a car crash?
If your car has suffered heavy damages, it might need to be towed to a collision center. If you have an active rental car insurance policy, you can use it and your entire cost of a rental car will be covered while your car is being fixed.
Your report and the police record are important factors in determining fault. Next, either you can file the claim yourself or hire a personal injury lawyer. Ultimately, your case will be analyzed by the insurance company to decide who was at fault and how much you can recover from the claim.