Steps to Take and What to Keep in Your Car in Case of an Accident
Getting into a car accident can rattle even the most experienced driver. In the moments after the accident, it may be difficult to think of what to do next. For this reason, you should prepare yourself and be ready to react if you should ever be unfortunate enough to find yourself in that situation.
First, you should be prepared to take these six steps:
- Check for injuries.
Immediately after the accident, take a minute to determine your injuries. If the car is no longer safe, you may need to get out of your car. Even if you are involved in a slight fender bender, you could still suffer from serious injuries that may not be immediately apparent to you. For this reason, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident.
- Report the accident.
The other driver may try to negotiate with you. The driver may urge you to not call the police and, instead, handle the issue by yourselves. This is never a good idea. You will want the police to inspect the scene and prepare an accident report – especially if you plan to file an insurance claim later on.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
You should always get insurance information from the other driver involved in the accident. If the driver has no insurance, you should still take down the driver’s personal information. You should also write down the license plate number and the make and model of the driver’s car. You will need all this information when you file an insurance claim.
- Take action at the crash scene.
If you can locate witnesses to the accident, you can write down their contact information. Witnesses typically leave the scene of a crash after the police arrive, so you should get their information as quickly as you can. You should also document the accident scene by taking photographs or notes of the conditions of the road and surrounding areas.
- Report the crash to your insurance company.
Your insurance policy probably has a clause that requires you to report all accidents – regardless of who was at fault. You should comply with your policy. Call your insurance agent and report the accident after you call the police and seek medical assistance.
- Do not admit fault.
You should never admit fault to the other driver or to anyone else. Things may not be clear at the time of the accident. So, you want to avoid discussing fault until after an investigation has been completed.
Alabama follows a pure contributory negligence doctrine. Under this doctrine, a driver who is even slightly at fault in causing an accident cannot recover any compensation for his or her injuries – even if the other driver’s negligence was the primary cause of the accident. So, you need to avoid saying anything that could come back to haunt you.
Stock Up Emergency Supplies
To be prepared for a crash, you should also stock up on emergency supplies and organize an emergency preparedness kit to keep in your car at all times. The kit should include items such as:
- Medical insurance information
- Information on your blood type and any allergies to medication
- Emergency contact information for your next of kin
- A cell phone and a car charger or power bank
- A disposable camera
- A first aid kit
- Emergency flares and Mylar blankets (or regular blankets).
These items can come in handy when you deal with a car accident – especially if it occurs in a remote area where other people are not likely to be on hand to help right away.
An Experienced Birmingham Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
If you are involved in a car accident, you need to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible and get more information about how to pursue a claim for your injuries. For a free consultation, contact Serious Injury Law Group today through our offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery and Lowndes County.
Chuck James is a Mobile native who graduated from University of Alabama. Chuck has been practicing law since early 2000. Contact Chuck James today for help with your personal injury case. Free consultations. Locations in Birmingham and Montgomery.