It’s difficult to always think clearly after a car accident, and some people may simply be unaware of what they should or could do to minimize the pain and aggravation of the aftermath. Car accidents happen to good people every day; no one asks to be hit. This checklist is good for teen drivers or anyone to keep in the car for that “just in case” event. If you are involved in a car accident, the following checklist items will help ensure that you are prepared for the unforeseen disaster and are able to handle it in the best way possible:
Take Safety Measures.
- Make sure your vehicle is in a place safe from other traffic and turn the engine off
- In NC you are required by law to move your vehicle to the shoulder following non- injury crashes
- NEVER leave the scene of an accident
- If anyone is injured, call 911 and offer assistance
- Move to a safe location and instruct others involved to do the same
- Do not attempt to move people who are injured, unless they are in immediate danger
- Contact local law enforcement to report the accident
Collect information about the persons and vehicles involved, including all parties to the crash, responding officers, and all eyewitnesses.
- Address, including email (from eyewitnesses and those involved in the crash)
- Phone numbers, including cell (from eyewitnesses and those involved in the crash)
- License numbers (if involved in the crash)
- License plate numbers (if involved in the crash)
- Year, make, and model of vehicles (if involved in the crash)
- Insurance carrier and policy number (if involved in the crash)
- Police report number (from responding officer)
Documenting the accident can be extremely important. Many people keep cameras or have phones with cameras on them for personal reasons. If you don’t currently have one, it may be a good idea to purchase one, just in case.
- Take photos of the accident scene and the people involved
- Have photos taken of you, if someone is available to take them
- Report the crash to your insurance company
- Be truthful and cooperative with the investigating officers
Besides a camera and a phone, there are other things that are good to have with you if you are ever involved in a car accident, some of which are required by law to have with you or your vehicle.
- Your insurance ID card
- Vehicle registration
- Driver’s license
- First aid kit
- Any medical cards
- Jumper cables
- Rags or paper towels
- Trash bags
- List of family and/or emergency contacts
- Cones or other traffic warning devices
Remember that the adrenaline and shock that accompany an accident can mask serious injury. Don’t be afraid to go in an ambulance from the scene. The ambulance personnel are trained professionals and provide much needed assistance. Once you are medically stable, you should call a reputable attorney.
Preparation can make all the difference in the degree to which a car accident overwhelms you financially, physically, and emotionally. If you know what to do in case of an accident and you remember to stay calm and polite, the ordeal may be less devastating. Once everyone is safe and an officer has assessed the situation, your next calls should be to a medical professional who can evaluate any bodily injuries and to an attorney who will help you understand what your rights are and how to protect them following the wreck.
At Fisher Stark, our attorneys have experience in dealing with the many legal facets of collision and personal injury. We fight for the rights of the injured and insured, not for the insurance companies. If you are involved in an automobile crash, contact our office to see how we can help.
Last updated 7/5/2015