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3 Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Crash

The average American driver gets into a car crash once every 17.9 years.

Whether it’s been a few days or a few decades since your last car accident, it’s always a shocking and unexpected experience. Even if your emotions are running high, it’s important to take a deep breath and try to stay calm.

In this post, we’ll outline the first three things you need to do immediately after an auto accident. Keep reading to learn more!

  1. Make Sure Everyone Involved Is Okay

Even if the car crash seemed minor, never leave the scene of the accident. You could get into serious legal trouble if the police show up and you’re not there.

Start by assessing your own physical condition. If you have passengers in your car, check that none of them are seriously injured. If it’s safe to do so, step out of your car and check with the other car(s) and driver(s) involved.

Don’t attempt to move someone who’s injured or treat their injuries yourself. Call 911 and wait for trained medical personnel to arrive.

  1. Call the Police & Exchange Information

The next thing to do after your crash is to contact the authorities. Even if no one appears seriously injured or needs an ambulance, you’ll want to get an official police statement to build your legal case.

Never admit fault in the accident, either to the police or the other driver. Even a simple statement like, “I can’t believe I didn’t see you” can come back to haunt you in an insurance claim. The other driver can take legal action if you admit fault (even verbally), so be mindful of what you say.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t speak to the others involved in the accident. While you’re waiting for the police to arrive, exchange contact information and insurance details with the other driver. Be sure to jot down their license plate number and driver’s license number too.

  1. Assess & Document Vehicle Damage

Only move the vehicles if they’re a hazard to oncoming traffic. If it’s safe to do so, pull out your phone and take pictures and videos of:

  • The location of the cars involved
  • Damage to vehicles
  • Personal injuries
  • Where on the road the accident occurred
  • Proximity to the nearest intersection
  • Street signs of the closest crossroad
  • Weather and lighting conditions
  • Anything else that may have contributed to the crash, such as a roadwork sign or debris in the road

If you’re injured or feeling too shaken to document these details yourself, ask a bystander to take the pictures for you. You should also talk to any witnesses and get their contact information too.

Be Proactive After a Car Crash

It’s normal to feel shaken, confused, or angry after a car crash.

Regardless of any emotions that pop up, do your best to remain calm. Ensure no one is seriously injured before you call the police and exchange contact information. You’ll also want to document the scene of the accident and any damage to your car.

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