One second you're driving down the road and everything is going as planned. The next, someone strikes your vehicle and your life changes forever.
You do your best to avoid trouble on the road, but you never know if another driver will act in a negligent manner. If you're part of a car crash, it's important to keep your cool to ensure that you take all the right steps at the right time.
Here are a few things you absolutely need to do:
- Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Even a minor accident can lead to serious injuries. For example, if your vehicle is tapped from behind while you're at a red light, it can result in whiplash among other back and neck injuries.
- Move to safety. It may not be possible in the event of serious damage to your vehicle, but try to move to the side of the road. Also, if available, use cones or flares to make others away of what's happening.
- Call 911. You can only do so much on your own, so you want to call 911 as quickly as you can. Once police arrive, the responding officer will take control of the scene. Also, EMTs can treat you and others for injuries and/or transport you to a local hospital.
- Exchange information. If you're feeling up to it, you can exchange information with the other driver(s). However, if you're dealing with a serious injury, don't worry about this for now.
- Document the accident. Once you're feeling well, collect all the information available to you. This can include everything from a police report to photos of your injuries to eyewitness accounts.
After you do all this and begin down the path to recovery, you should contact your insurance company to file a claim.
During the first conversation, be careful not to say too much. You don't want to share information that could harm you from obtaining all the compensation you deserve. Also, review your policy so you understand your coverage.
It's a shame, but even the safest drivers are part of motor vehicle accidents. If this happens to you, don't feel bad about seeking compensation from your insurance company and holding the negligent party responsible for their actions.