Even if you’ve thought about what to do after an auto accident, all your best intentions can fly out the window in the crisis of the moment. In the event the worst happens, it’s a good idea to keep a written list in your wallet, in your car, and on your phone for quick access.
And every once in a while—maybe when you change out your insurance cards or clean out old receipts—pull out the list and look it over. Read it out loud to cement the details into your memory. Mentally picture yourself working through each step and checking it off.
1. Take a deep breath and assess yourself for any possible injuries before you move.
2. Don’t leave the scene. Driving or walking away for any reason could result in you being charged with a hit-and-run.
3. If you can, pull out of flowing traffic to the side of the road. If not, leave the car right where it is.
4. If your car is too damaged to move, leave it where it is and wait for first responders to arrive.
5. Exchange information with the other driver or drivers. Don’t discuss the accident or speculate who was at fault. Never say, “I think it was my fault,” even if you think it was. Let the professionals determine who made the mistake.
6. Use your phone to snap pictures of the scene, but don’t get in the way of the first responders. Ask any bystanders if they witnessed the accident, and direct them to the responding officer.
7. Call your car insurance company to let them know what happened. Tell them the facts as truthfully as you know them, and inform them of any medical treatment you received as a result of the accident. Keep receipts from your doctor visits, medications, and therapies in a file folder.
8. One of the most important steps of what to do after an auto accident is to get at least two independent car repair estimates to compare with the insurance company’s numbers, and don’t take the first settlement you’re offered. Don’t hesitate to secure a San Antonio car accident attorney to represent your interests.