No one expects to get into an accident when they get into their car. But this scenario can happen to anybody, even the best drivers. The National Safety Council estimated that 38,800 people lost their lives in car accidents last year. Although these numbers are 2% less than that of 2018, it is still an alarming amount.

While it’s difficult to prevent accidents from happening, you can prepare yourself for this unfortunate scenario. Your actions immediately after a car accident impact how the rest of the situation plays out.

Here’s what you should do if you get into a car accident:

Don’t leave the scene.

You should never leave the scene of the accidents, regardless if it was your fault or not. If you get into an accident, you should call the proper authorities immediately. This applies to everything, from a minor fender bender to a serious crash.

If the accident occurred in the middle of the road, try to move the vehicles to the side to prevent further incidents. In situations where this isn’t possible, turn on your hazard lights to warn oncoming traffic and to signal the authorities where you are.

Make a record.

While waiting for the authorities, exchange relevant information with the other driver. This is imperative in any type of accident between two or multiple parties. The data you gather will help you claim insurance or a settlement for the damages later on.

  • Get the other driver’s full name, current address, and contact number.
  • Exchange insurance information, including the company and their contact information.
  • Get the other driver’s policy number.
  • Take a photo of each other’s driver’s license, plate number, and any damage to the cars and yourself.

Aside from these, make sure you tell the authorities everything that happened. Avoid speculating any facts; if you are unsure, tell the police officers. Additionally, try to get witnesses to share their statements to provide an accurate picture of the accident.

Report on the accident.

Once you’ve talked to the authorities, you will need to notify your insurance company. Most policies require immediate reporting to execute the process. Additionally, your policy might entitle you to medical benefits. If it was a serious accident where people were injured, consider consulting a law firm that specializes in auto accidents. This is to help you understand your rights and to protect yourself from a possible lawsuit.

Seek medical attention.

Most auto accident-related injuries are not immediately apparent. But this shouldn’t stop you from seeking medical attention right after the incident. Some injuries, such as a concussion, can worsen over time. Make sure you and the other driver don’t suffer from serious and permanent injuries by visiting your respective physicians. Any findings at this step of the process will be essential to the incident report.

No one can say when an accident will occur, but you can protect yourself from the aftermath with the right information. Know your rights, as both the perpetrator and the victim, and familiarize yourself with the process to prepare yourself.