How Should I Respond Immediately After a Car Accident?

If you've had a car accident, you'll know that there are lots of things you'll need to do in the next few weeks to get organized, such as informing your insurance company, seeing a healthcare professional and possibly contacting a lawyer (there are some good ones if you have a car accident in Pittsburgh). However, whilst many people might know the steps for the following weeks, you might not be so sure how to react immediately after a car accident. You might be upset, embarrassed or scared. So, how should you respond immediately after a car accident?

Stop and move
The most important thing to do after a car accident is to stop, even if it's not severe. This is a legal obligation, and you could get in trouble if you've driven away from the scene, especially if someone has been badly injured.After you've stopped, you should move your car out of the way of incoming traffic if possible. If not, you'll need to put your hazard lights on to alert drivers of the obstruction.

Check for injuries
No matter how minor the accident, you should always check yourself, and others, for injuries and help if possible. It's helpful to keep a first-aid kit in your car which might be of use before an ambulance arrives. This should contain all the essentials including gloves, bandages and sterile dressings. However, whilst you want to help, if someone else has been badly injured you shouldn't attempt to move or treat them unless you are a trained healthcare professional. You will have to assess the situation and use your own judgement in this situation.

Call the police
Depending on the severity of the accident, you'll probably need to call 911 to alert the police, especially if passengers are injured. If it's a minor accident, it's still useful to call the non-emergency number. If you're not sure when to call the police, it's always better to do so. However, if there's minimal damage and no one is hurt then it may not be necessary.

Get details
After you've stopped your car, checked for injuries and alerted incoming traffic, you'll need to speak to anyone involved in the accident and get their contact details. The most important information you'll need is their names, phone numbers, and registration numbers. You may wish to take a picture of their driving license for ease, but only do so if you have their permission.

Take pictures
Taking photographs of the scene immediately after a car accident can be a useful course of action, because these can provide evidence later. Luckily, nearly everyone has a camera phone these days, and this means that you can take pictures easily. It's important to capture any damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved, any damage to the road or traffic signals, the location and weather conditions and any injuries you may have experienced. Make sure you get a variety of different angles and the quality is good. Whilst you might be feeling anxious and stressed, they will be useful later so try to take your time.

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