If you have ever been in a car accident, you know that your first thoughts may be a bit confused and disjointed. It is hard to concentrate when all around you is chaos.
However, there are some very necessary steps you should take if you ever find yourself in that situation. Whether it is a minor fender bender or a terrible accident, these things can be stressful, and you should be prepared for what happens next.
Steps to Follow
First, make sure to call for help. You will need to assess the situation before, or during, your call to 911. See if anyone has been injured, and of course, assess your own body for any injuries. Call using your cell phone, or if your cell phone has been lost or damaged in the crash, ask a bystander to phone for help.
Make sure, though, that you ask someone specifically to call. Too often the injured party, or someone on the scene, simply screams out for someone to call 911, and nobody takes the initiative to actually call, assuming someone else will do it.
Next, if there are no injuries, make sure the accident area is safe. If you can move your vehicle out of the way of traffic, do so, to avoid any further accidents. And then make sure to exchange information with the other driver. This is essential, and should not be overlooked. Take a picture of his or her insurance card with your cell phone, or simply write down the details.
When you are exchanging information, make sure that you do not, under any circumstances, admit to making a mistake, and causing the accident. You can ask if the other driver is all right, but do not admit fault, and do not apologize for anything.
Then, take lots of photos! If your cell phone is not a camera phone, ask a bystander for help, or wait until a loved one gets there to help you. This is the best time to get information. Take pictures of the entire area, the vehicles, the damaged parts of both cars, and even the location where the accident happened. Take pictures of the debris, the street signs, etc. Information is crucial, so get as much as you can.
Taking down information includes finding witnesses, too. If there are people who you know definitely witnessed your accident, ask for their names and contact information. They may be hesitant to give out this information, but let them know that you may need it later. Their eyewitness accounts may come in handy later if your case is taken to court.
Call the police if they have not already arrived on the scene. The accident report will be important for your case. Again, do not admit to any wrongdoing when you speak with the police.
The next professional you should call is a qualified Philadelphia car accident attorney to help you. Set up a consultation and let him or her decide if you have a case since you may be eligible for compensation.